7 notes on Apple's health strategy so far

Apple has been ramping up its presence in the healthcare space, following the recent trend of big tech's foray into the industry, ZDNet reports.

"Apple's move into health makes solid business sense: by integrating itself into the management of potentially life-long medical conditions, Apple is creating a powerful reason to stick with iOS and not switch out to rival ecosystems like Android, and potentially opens up new markets for its devices," the report concludes.

Seven notes on Apple's health strategy so far, as outlined by ZDNet:

1. Apple kicked off its healthcare projects in the consumer wellness space when it debuted the Apple Watch, HealthKit platform and Health app a few years ago. These tools were focused on helping users track their exercise, diet and other lifestyle metrics.

2. Shortly after, the company launched CareKit, a software framework to help developers create health-focused products for the iPhone — such as products that help iPhone users connect with medical professionals.

3. Apple has built out its smartwatch into what some might call a medical device. Most recently, it equipped the watch with an electrocardiogram feature that passively monitors wearers' heart rhythms for abnormalities.

4. Apple teamed up with medical device company Zimmer Biomet to explore ways to track how patients recover from knee and hip replacement surgeries using a smartphone app.

5. By integrating patients' health records in the iPhone's Health app, the company has made it easier for patients to share their health data with physicians, and vice versa. Analysts told ZDNet that the move could help to dissuade iPhone users from switching to Android products.

"If Apple already has all my healthcare records, and if I [can] go into my healthcare institution and touch my Apple Watch onto the reception area, and instantly all my health data is there ready to be used, I wouldn't want to go to another ecosystem," Francisco Almeida, senior research analyst on European mobile devices at market research firm IDC, told ZDNet.

6. Apple has been in talks with insurers to subsidize the Apple Watch to Medicare Advantage enrollees — but that's just one move the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant has made with payers. "There are other signs that Apple is looking to become indispensable to insurers," ZDNet reports. "In December, Apple reportedly hired Jason Oberfest, CEO of a medication management app called Mango Health, which is aimed at people who are on a complex drug regime."

7. Apple has repeatedly emphasized the importance of privacy and security of customers' data. Data privacy is of particular concern in healthcare, given the sensitive nature of patient data and stringent industry regulations.

To access the complete report by ZDNet, click here.

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