Apple is working on preventative healthcare technology, CEO Cook reveals
AppleInsider is supported by its audience and can earn commission as an Amazon Associate and Affiliate Partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Monday the company was studying technology that could help identify health risks at an early stage, similar to the heart monitoring features introduced with Apple Watch.
Cook commented on Apple’s contributions to the health space during a panel, suggesting that what began with heart health tracking on Apple Watch may soon spread to other areas of interest. .
Current Apple Watch models are equipped with sensors that can detect atrial fibrillation, or AFib, a common cardiac arrhythmia that can lead to stroke in some patients. The Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5 take it a step further and include an FDA-approved EKG function for more accurate readings.
As the first FDA-approved consumer device to incorporate an ECG, Apple Watch is one of the early entrants into what appears to be a booming crossover industry that combines consumer technology with healthcare.
“I see that this intersection hasn’t been explored very well yet. There isn’t a lot of technology associated with the way health care is delivered to people unless they have very serious issues. . ”Cook said in a question-and-answer session with the CEO of IDA Ireland. Martin Shanahan, according to Silicon Republic. IDA presented Cook with the first Special Recognition Award for 40 years of Apple’s investment in Ireland on Monday
Most of the Apple Watch’s heart monitoring features, such as AFib detection, are inherently preventative and can potentially reduce healthcare costs or even save lives.
“I think you can take this simple idea of having preventative things and find a lot of other areas where technology intersects with healthcare, and I think all of our lives would probably be better off for that,” Cook said. He added that the cost of health care can “be fundamentally reduced, possibly dramatically” by integrating common health technologies into consumer devices.
“Most of the health care money goes to cases that weren’t identified early enough,” Cook said. “It will take time, but the things that we are doing now – which I am not going to talk about today – give me a lot of hope.”
Apple is known to be hard at work on several health-focused initiatives, although none have been officially announced. A recent patent filing in December, for example, suggests the company is developing methods of using Apple Watch to detect Parkinson’s disease and diagnose symptoms of tremors. Similar initiatives, such as the noise monitor app and the menstrual cycle tracker app, were announced and subsequently released with watchOS 6.
The Apple chief also touched on augmented reality, once again calling it the “next big thing” in tech. Cook has long been optimistic about the prospects for AR, which are supported in iOS app versions.
“I think it’s something that doesn’t isolate people. We can use it to enhance our discussion, not replace it with a human connection, which has always worried me deeply in some of the other technologies. “