Apple CEO Tim Cook believes health will be the company’s “greatest contribution to mankind.” But within the organization, there’s growing dissent among top brass who disagree about what that contribution should be.
Disillusioned with the direction of the group, Apple’s health team has experienced a number of high-profile departures in recent years. According to CNBC, the disagreement centers on Apple’s decision to pursue wellness features instead of more ambitious health projects.
- Several employees interviewed for the piece say they hoped to tackle bigger, healthcare-related challenges, such as medical devices, telemedicine, and health payments.
- Apple, however, has emphasized wellness and prevention by focusing on exercise, meditation, and sleep.
- Employees contend that by prioritizing wellness over health, Apple is helping users who are already healthy while failing to address more impactful medical applications aimed at addressing chronic diseases.
More recently, Myoung Cha, Apple Health’s head of strategic initiatives, left the company to work at Carbon Health, a primary care startup.
Zooming out: The shortcomings of the US healthcare system have made it ripe for disruption. From the Big Four to DTC healthcare companies, the opportunity has become obvious to contenders intent on offering a better way to receive care. But, as many digital health startups have discovered, reinventing healthcare has proved futile. Even Apple, one of the most valuable companies the world has ever known, is coming up against the wall.
Wellness, on the other hand, is low-hanging fruit. The lack of risk and regulation helps explain Apple’s decision making and speaks to the explosion of the $4.5T wellness industry. While startups like hims are using stigmas and personal care as a stepping stone to healthcare, the blurred lines between healthcare and wellness make it difficult for consumers to differentiate between trends and treatment.