Just a few short years ago, it appeared that tech innovator Apple had plans to veer away from its expertise by entering the brick-and-mortar healthcare marketplace. As JUCM News reported at the time, it started by hiring more than 40 physicians to provide on-site care for employees—but also to advise the company on future healthcare strategies. The idea was that they would ultimately launch primary care locations for the general public. Now it appears the company has abandoned those plans due in no small part to its own employees’ discomfort with their employer collecting personal healthcare information on them. Somewhat counterintuitively, however, Apple’s wearable health devices (which exist specifically to track steps, heart rate, and other bellwethers of the wearer’s fitness) are more popular than ever. This is where there may wind up being application in the nonvirtual healthcare space after all. Recently a woman in Norton Shores, MI was alerted to an abnormally high heart rate by her Apple Watch. Concerned, she drove to the nearest urgent care center, got an electrocardiogram, and learned that she had had an undetected heart attack. She later underwent surgery after further examination revealed a blockage of the left anterior descending artery. It may be worthwhile to take note of various wearables worn by patients and to remind them that the devices are not meant to be diagnostic tools, but can in fact alert them that medical attention is needed—and available in the urgent care center.
Once a Possible Competitor, Could Apple Now Be a Conduit to Urgent Care Utilization?