Apple is gearing up to help the Department of Veterans Affairs by providing portable electronic health records for military veterans as part of a partnership aimed a making hospital visits less complicated.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the effort and emails reviewed by the paper, the idea is for Apple to create software that lets the VA’s roughly nine million veterans currently enrolled transfer health records to iPhones. Apple would also provide engineering support to the Department of Veterans Affairs, reported the Wall Street Journal. The report noted that VA officials and associates of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club discussed the project via a series of emails. The report noted the emails reveal that the White House “wrestled early on” with the goals of the project. Apple said it had nothing to announce.
If Apple was able to land the partnership it would be huge, given all sorts of technology companies are trying to get into the healthcare market which is valued at $3.2 trillion. Alphabet just brought on a hospital system executive to oversee its healthcare efforts while Amazon has teamed up with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to form a company that will work to lower the healthcare costs of employees.
The partnership with the VA could speed up Apple’s efforts given it will be able to tap into one of the biggest patient populations in the U.S. So far it has signed agreements with hospital networks in a patchwork fashion, getting them to encourage patients to import their medical record on to iPhones. The aim is to get patients to import their records and then use them with health-related apps that would provide services including refilling prescriptions, reported the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with Apple’s plans. Apple would get between 15 percent to 30 percent of the subscription revenues, similar to its arrangements with other apps in the app store. Apple first reached out to the VA in the early part of 2017, according to a person familiar with the effort. The paper noted that officials at the VA and Apple were excited about the project’s promise.