Until recently, Amazon’s new lab at its headquarters in Seattle was a secret. It was set up to identify business prospects within the field of healthcare; prospects such as telemedicine and EHR’s. But Amazon is not the only company seeking to make moves into healthcare. Rumors that Apple is in talks with healthcare organizations and hospitals to unify health records onto their iPhone have recently been confirmed.
Reportedly, Apple has been in talks with Crossover Health, a company based in Aliso Viejo, California (also home to Mnet Health). Crossover is a startup that works with employers who are self-insured to provide them with medical services at clinics that are onsite. This move has stoked the fires of speculation concerning Apple’s move into the healthcare arena.
While negotiations apparently continued for several months, they did not result in a deal ultimately according to one unnamed source. Others have mentioned attempts to strike a deal with One Medical, a concierge primary care organization based in San Francisco. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, has publicly expressed an interest in business opportunities represented within healthcare. An interview in Fortune magazine in September quoted Mr. Cook as saying “There’s much more in the health area. There’s a lot of stuff I can’t tell you about that [Apple] is working on…I do think it’s a big area for Apple’s future.”
Apple has hired several healthcare experts and consultants in the last few years. The giant tech company has also collaborated with researchers from Stanford to improve its digital health software while also make the iPhone the right place to go for patient health information. Two software tools have recently been released by Apple; the Apple HealthKit and ResearchKit, which were designed to share patient health information with developers and also to recruit patients for clinical studies.
Meanwhile, Amazon is currently developing an EHR platform, telemedicine options, and health apps for devices such as the Amazon Echo. Amazon is said to call its covert team “1492,” which, of course, is the year that Christopher Columbus first sailed to the Americas. Another interesting tidbit is that positions for this team can be searched using the keyword “a1.492.” They are also working on healthcare apps for devices such as the Echo and the Dash Wand.
In other apparently related news, President Trump recently announces that the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, has promised that his company will build three large new manufacturing plants in the United States.