Healthcare stands as a fertile area for growth in payments and commerce, and the latest example of that comes from Apple. According to CNBC, the company, along with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said Wednesday (Nov. 6) that “veterans can now access their health information on their iPhone via Apple’s health records service.”
This new offering reportedly is designed so that patients who are veterans can access their medical data from one location and share it with various providers, reducing friction. The data also can include information tracked by fitness-oriented wearables. “Non-veterans can also use Apple health records, but they’ll only see data if their health provider is integrated with the service,” the report said. “Otherwise, they can access that information via other channels, like their hospitals’ patient record software, but that can be arduous.”
This is just the latest healthcare move from Apple.
Recently, the company introduced a blood glucose monitor that will be sold in some of the company’s retail stores. The device, called the OneDrop, will let users track their blood sugar through an integration with the Apple Health app, and also with the Apple Watch. It’s the first time Apple has sold the device in its stores, although it was available online before. The move show’s Apple’s eagerness to break into the healthcare space and make the Apple Watch and iPhone more than just devices that send texts and surf the web.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about the company’s plans to infiltrate the health market, saying the tech giant’s health offerings are going to be the company’s “greatest contribution to mankind.” The CEO has talked about the company creating its own glucose monitor, and he’s also been seen testing a continuous glucose monitor, although he is not known to have diabetes.
“I think it’s great to have more consumer-friendly medical devices in the Apple Store,” Aaron Neinstein, an endocrinologist at UC San Francisco, said at the time of the launch. “OneDrop has embraced the fact that they’re part of people’s lives, and that includes their smartphone, and I wish other more traditional device makers would follow suit.”
Earlier this year, Morgan Stanley analysts predicted that healthcare will emerge as a key market for Apple. Apple’s offerings in the healthcare space could generate $15 billion in sales by 2021, Morgan Stanley predicted, pointing to the rising adoption of the Apple Watch and its opportunity in the health space. That includes features like heart rate and step monitoring, and eventually possible tools like blood pressure and glucose monitoring. Reports said the high-end of Morgan Stanley analysts peg potential sales as high as $313 billion by 2027. Apple posted $266 billion in total revenues for 2018, reports noted.
“At the mid-point, Apple’s health efforts could result in ~$90 billion of annual revenue by 2027, roughly ~25 percent of its current revenues base,” analysts said in a report released Monday, pointing to a few key differentiators for Apple over top rivals Microsoft and Google. One of the largest is privacy and customer trust, with analysts pointing to Apple’s recruitment of 400,000 in less than a year for a heart health study using Apple Watch. Reports noted that the successful recruitment effort displays customer trust in Apple using health data.
The company is already making inroads in the healthcare space in other ways, including partnerships with companies in the industry. Apple struck a deal with health insurance company Aetna and, reports noted, is in discussions to have as similar partnership for private Medicare plans.
“Medicare has the most concentrated pools of money and is the least complicated to navigate,” Morgan Stanley said in its report.
Another key opportunity for Apple in the healthcare field is through health data and providing analytics and other insights to providers like hospitals and clinics. The company will have to maintain customer trust and privacy, however, while still advertising an analytics opportunity with those providers, Morgan Stanley noted.
You can bet on more healthcare moves from Apple before too long.