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Apple spoke with UnitedHealth, Humana regarding HealthKit tie-up - report

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
As part of a campaign designed to drive adoption of its forthcoming HealthKit biomedical tracking platform, Apple has reportedly held broad-stroke discussions with major U.S. insurers UnitedHealth and Humana about potential partnerships.



Executives from both insurance companies confirmed the talks, according to Bloomberg, though they were mum on the content of the meetings. Apple was characteristically silent when asked for comment.

The publication cited a program instituted last year by British energy firm BP, in which the company offered employees the ability to earn health insurance discounts by making healthier life choices, as an example of the possibilities of such a partnership. Employees validate their progress by wearing a FitBit fitness tracker.

UnitedHealth and Humana -- along with competitors Cigna and Highmark -- are said to have added similar options for policyholders. It is possible that the talks with Apple would fit under this rubric, as HealthKit is designed in part to allow medical professionals easier access to the data generated by the growing plethora of wearable devices available to consumers.

Apple is already known to be working with the Mayo Clinic, and the company is rumored to have been in contact with Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins. It is also thought to have approached EMR providers Allscripts and Epic Systems to integrate HealthKit data directly into patients' medical records.
post #2 of 17
I hate western medicine and big pharma, but this is good for Apple regardless.

It almost seems pointless to be in talks with these companies when there's no stopping them from jumping on android when the feature is available.

I wonder if there is a health company Apple can purchase(Mayo Clinic?) that would give iDevices exclusive features/rights. Otherwise I see Giggle cloning HealthKit and what's the point after that?
post #3 of 17
I think it's extremely exciting. It can help you understand your health better and see how much calories you burn and how you can improve your health. My health is terrible and I would definitely benefit from using HealthKit.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cali View Post

I hate western medicine and big pharma, but this is good for Apple regardless.

It almost seems pointless to be in talks with these companies when there's no stopping them from jumping on android when the feature is available.

I wonder if there is a health company Apple can purchase(Mayo Clinic?) that would give iDevices exclusive features/rights. Otherwise I see Giggle cloning HealthKit and what's the point after that?

 

It would probably be more advantages for Apple to team up with companies like GE in the US and Philips in Europe.


Edited by Relic - 8/21/14 at 3:19pm
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post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post
It would probably be more advantages for Apple to team up with companies like GE in the US and Philips in Europe. Though in Europe Microsoft has a little advantage over Apple as their product HealthVault has been making the rounds since 2010 and is being utilized in many hospitals right now, including the one I'm currently staying at, everything from the blood pressure monitor to the IV pump. The amount of medical devices that it supports is massive, it looks like Microsoft is watching the medical industry very closely and writes drivers for everything that they can get their hands on.

Are all those devices on the network? Last time I was in the hospital, a couple years ago, the IV wasn't even plugged to power most of the time let alone have a network connection unless it was wireless. The thing would always wake me up with the low battery alarm. The hospital is only a few years old but for some reason they put far too few wall outlets in the patient rooms so they would just charge the IVs up somewhere else and roll a new one in to the room when the batteries die.

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post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cali View Post

I hate western medicine and big pharma, but this is good for Apple regardless.

It almost seems pointless to be in talks with these companies when there's no stopping them from jumping on android when the feature is available.

I wonder if there is a health company Apple can purchase(Mayo Clinic?) that would give iDevices exclusive features/rights. Otherwise I see Giggle cloning HealthKit and what's the point after that?

Ha ha, the Mayo Clinic is a non-profit as are all but 2 of Minnesota's 146 hospitals.  And by law, for profit health plans are not allowed in Minnesota, even though the the 600 lb gorilla of health plans, United Health, is based here. It's nice to deal with non-profit hospitals and health plans because you know that whatever actions they undertake, it is probably not driven primarily by greed.  If the best health care provider in the state, perhaps in the whole country even, sells itself to a for-profit corporation, assuming it is at all legally possible, the whole state would be up in arms against it.  Not that the Mayo Clinic even contemplates turning itself into a for-profit entity. 

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

Are all those devices on the network? Last time I was in the hospital, a couple years ago, the IV wasn't even plugged to power most of the time let alone have a network connection unless it was wireless. The thing would always wake me up with the low battery alarm. The hospital is only a few years old but for some reason they put far too few wall outlets in the patient rooms so they would just charge the IVs up somewhere else and roll a new one in to the room when the batteries die.

From your username I'm suspecting your in Cali, I'm in Switzerland, we are a little more forward when it comes to technology, especially medical. I can only speak out of experience, as I've spent the last year and a half in and out of hospitals, I noticed that more and more hospitals are using wireless blood pressure monitors, plug in and download info later temperature monitors, heart monitors are hard wired and when your in the ICU everything is still the way it is as things like wireless may interrupt equipment. The Fentanyl drip I'm on is programmed via a wireless handheld, made by Philips, which sucks, because I can't hack it manually, like I've done in the past. The one thing that I do know, tablets will not be used for the foreseeable future, 3 out of the 4 hospitals I've stayed at have already gone through trials with them and concluded that almost no time was saved and in most cases just got in the way. What their focusing on is networked monitoring and devices that can be plugged into a dock so info can be retrieved if their not wireless of course. All nurses stations are equipped with laptops anyway. I ask a lot of questions about the technology that is being used, it's my thing. This doesn't mean that tablets aren't used, I noticed the doctors using them, records and the lady who comes around to get our meal orders. They weren't iPads though, Dell Venue Pro's, reason, removable batteries and software, I asked, well at least I concluded as the girl said she get's a new battery from a charging station with 10 other batteries. No it's not because the Dell needs a new battery every 3 hours, they last a good 8+ hours, I know what some of you are thinking. I also don't care, I'm just telling you guys what I have seen and head, don't shoot the messenger.


Edited by Relic - 8/21/14 at 3:51pm
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post #8 of 17

I think what Apple is doing here is to try to provide updates to a person's electronic health record (EHR), from the person themselves, in real-time.

 

Systems like Microsoft's HealthVault are capturing data provided by the user, as and when they wish to do so.  It's almost like a diary, where people record their activities as in: "today did 100 sit-ups, INR = 1.2 . . .".  This is all good, but I suspect Apple is looking to provide more by offering continuous, personal health-care monitoring.

 

However, this is dangerous technological territory because the privacy issues are enormous.  Apple knows this, but some of the iWatch, iBody-Scan, iKnowEverythingAboutYou, etc., issues that must be addressed are:

 

1.  Opt-in, opt-out: If I buy this technology, can I personally turn it on or off?  More particularly, if I've used it, even once, can I turn it off later and completely erase any personal data I've submitted so far?

2.  Who will have access to this personal data: me, my wife, my lawyer, my employer, my insurance company . . .?  Can I specify who will have access?

 

There are clearly huge privacy and legislative issues around uploading your personal bio-information to someone "in the cloud".

 

Let's hope Apple has everyone's best interests in mind, and that those who buy the products understand what the potential risks are.

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Ha ha, the Mayo Clinic is a non-profit as are all but 2 of Minnesota's 146 hospitals.  And by law, for profit health plans are not allowed in Minnesota, even though the the 600 lb gorilla of health plans, United Health, is based here. It's nice to deal with non-profit hospitals and health plans because you know that whatever actions they undertake, it is probably not driven primarily by greed.  If the best health care provider in the state, perhaps in the whole country even, sells itself to a for-profit corporation, assuming it is at all legally possible, the whole state would be up in arms against it.  Not that the Mayo Clinic even contemplates turning itself into a for-profit entity. 

I'm sure they're for profit in a non profit suit. I know the government would get involved health care is their big money-maker. But like I said western health care is a joke.

My point was mainly what can be done to make Apples service desirable. In this day and age it seems you can't invent anything without a google or MS equivalent releasing soon after. Although this line in the article is interesting:

"Executives from both insurance companies confirmed the talks, according to Bloomberg, though they were mum on the content of the meetings. Apple was characteristically silent when asked for comment."

I'm hoping this means an exclusive feature/right for iDevices.

There's just so much at play that Health integration into devices seems like it would be a mess.

1. If Apple gains an exclusive right/feature Giggle and the government might step in and say its unfair to other sick and unhealthy patients who own android(even though we survived for millennia without these devices)

2. Apple better have a battery trick up their sleeve. No one wants to count steps or calories when suddenly their device dies.

There's countless problems but if Apple believes now is the time then be it.

Speaking of time,

NOW is the right time to release an Apple watch, it could potentially eliminate number 2's problems if solar powered and battery efficient(only turns on when you look into it).
After watching this commercial it hit me:


youtube.com/watch?v=xTjejvnBJfU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Apple's plan is to do away with all these clunky health accessories and fuse them into one convenient product. Apple has been researching our exercises for years (Nike+, Nike Fuelband). It's about time for a new device that will replace ALL these unnecessary gadgets into a small form factor.

Heres a good read:
http://www.fool.com/investor-alert/rule-breakers/rb-wearable-chat-test/?source=isaeditxt0900024&mobileredirect=true

ok I digress, might copy-paste on an iWatch story so apologies ahead of time....
post #10 of 17
I was recently in a hospital. I noticed a lot of GE and Phillips hardware. I also noticed iPads being used to collect meal requests. I thought a lot and was excited about how HealthKit could be used to monitor my health while in the hospital.
post #11 of 17
QQuote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

I was recently in a hospital. I noticed a lot of GE and Phillips hardware. I also noticed iPads being used to collect meal requests. I thought a lot and was excited about how HealthKit could be used to monitor my health while in the hospital.

Right, it's all GE and Philips stuff, wait the portable ultrasound machine was Samsung but that was it. I've started to use HealthKit, as you can imagine a cancer patient has tons of info that she, being me, can't remember and it's actually a nice system to dictate all of this info into. What's cool about it is you can export the data to almost every EMS system in use today. I think Microsoft understands that you can't be an island in this game and they need to support as many systems as possible and I'm sure Apples solution will also be supported. It's great, so when I see a new doctor all I have to do is send them the export for whatever system their using can handle, most of the time it's just an XML file, I looked. I'm sure Apple's solution will be much better but it comes down to which systems that they'll support, I have a feeling it will only be theirs.

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post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cali View Post

I hate western medicine and big pharma, but this is good for Apple regardless.

It almost seems pointless to be in talks with these companies when there's no stopping them from jumping on android when the feature is available.

I wonder if there is a health company Apple can purchase(Mayo Clinic?) that would give iDevices exclusive features/rights. Otherwise I see Giggle cloning HealthKit and what's the point after that?

1. To your first point: What Apple is doing is seeking to bring healthy choices and lifestyle into the equation, which will substitute for drugs and expensive diagnostic tests to correct what went wrong after the fact. So this is good for Apple, good for Apple users' health, and good for one's pocket book too.

2. To your second point:: The secret sauce for Apple is in the body-signal pickups to report to the iDevices. I think there will be a bevy of patent applications for such to hit the news in the next month. Add that sauce to the total integration of hardware and software that Apple does so well and I think Android will have a harder time closing the gap. I'd expect Samsung to make a lot of noise about doing the same thing "soon" but each step Apple takes is harder to copy (think fingerprint recognition) then the last.

3. And to your last point: Apple doesn't need to buy anyone outside of their core competency to build a wall around their markets. Not that it would do any good in the long run. With things like the 64-bit architecture and the energy efficient M7 and other mobility edges, Apple is making the iDevices the best choice for now and into the future.
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #13 of 17

It is concerning that Apple appears to be only talking to American health authorities. It would be a mistake not to involve, say the British National Health Service,(which is undergoing major reorganisation and is a very powerful body), New Zealand, Australia, Canada, etc. etc., I could go on!!

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

...

2. To your second point:: The secret sauce for Apple is in the body-signal pickups to report to the iDevices. I think there will be a bevy of patent applications for such to hit the news in the next month. Add that sauce to the total integration of hardware and software that Apple does so well and I think Android will have a harder time closing the gap. I'd expect Samsung to make a lot of noise about doing the same thing "soon" but each step Apple takes is harder to copy (think fingerprint recognition) then the last.

3. And to your last point: Apple doesn't need to buy anyone outside of their core competency to build a wall around their markets. Not that it would do any good in the long run. With things like the 64-bit architecture and the energy efficient M7 and other mobility edges, Apple is making the iDevices the best choice for now and into the future.

Good points. I didn't think of the second point. For all we know Apple could have developed a technology as hard to copy as TouchID. I think Apple has realized the patent system is rubbish and they'll continue to find new ways to make their innovations hard mock(rare materials, sapphire, TouchID)
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatrix View Post

It is concerning that Apple appears to be only talking to American health authorities. It would be a mistake not to involve, say the British National Health Service,(which is undergoing major reorganisation and is a very powerful body), New Zealand, Australia, Canada, etc. etc., I could go on!!

This concerns me too. If Giggle or Sammy see a hole they'll rush to fill it.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by greatrix View Post

It is concerning that Apple appears to be only talking to American health authorities. It would be a mistake not to involve, say the British National Health Service,(which is undergoing major reorganisation and is a very powerful body), New Zealand, Australia, Canada, etc. etc., I could go on!!

Why would it be a concern? Apple does things in a measured way. It may take time, but they'll do it thoughtfully over time.

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GOA

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GOA

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post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post
It would probably be more advantages for Apple to team up with companies like GE in the US and Philips in Europe. Though in Europe Microsoft has a little advantage over Apple as their product HealthVault has been making the rounds since 2010 and is being utilized in many hospitals right now, including the one I'm currently staying at, everything from the blood pressure monitor to the IV pump. The amount of medical devices that it supports is massive, it looks like Microsoft is watching the medical industry very closely and writes drivers for everything that they can get their hands on.

Are all those devices on the network? Last time I was in the hospital, a couple years ago, the IV wasn't even plugged to power most of the time let alone have a network connection unless it was wireless. The thing would always wake me up with the low battery alarm. The hospital is only a few years old but for some reason they put far too few wall outlets in the patient rooms so they would just charge the IVs up somewhere else and roll a new one in to the room when the batteries die.

 

Sorry to hear you've been in hospital. I hope it wasn't due to someone repeatedly smashing the side of your head with a cricket bat.

"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
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"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
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post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relic View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

Are all those devices on the network? Last time I was in the hospital, a couple years ago, the IV wasn't even plugged to power most of the time let alone have a network connection unless it was wireless. The thing would always wake me up with the low battery alarm. The hospital is only a few years old but for some reason they put far too few wall outlets in the patient rooms so they would just charge the IVs up somewhere else and roll a new one in to the room when the batteries die.

From your username I'm suspecting your in Cali, I'm in Switzerland, we are a little more forward when it comes to technology, especially medical. I can only speak out of experience, as I've spent the last year and a half in and out of hospitals, I noticed that more and more hospitals are using wireless blood pressure monitors, plug in and download info later temperature monitors, heart monitors are hard wired and when your in the ICU everything is still the way it is as things like wireless may interrupt equipment. The Fentanyl drip I'm on is programmed via a wireless handheld, made by Philips, which sucks, because I can't hack it manually, like I've done in the past. The one thing that I do know, tablets will not be used for the foreseeable future, 3 out of the 4 hospitals I've stayed at have already gone through trials with them and concluded that almost no time was saved and in most cases just got in the way. What their focusing on is networked monitoring and devices that can be plugged into a dock so info can be retrieved if their not wireless of course. All nurses stations are equipped with laptops anyway. I ask a lot of questions about the technology that is being used, it's my thing. This doesn't mean that tablets aren't used, I noticed the doctors using them, records and the lady who comes around to get our meal orders. They weren't iPads though, Dell Venue Pro's, reason, removable batteries and software, I asked, well at least I concluded as the girl said she get's a new battery from a charging station with 10 other batteries. No it's not because the Dell needs a new battery every 3 hours, they last a good 8+ hours, I know what some of you are thinking. I also don't care, I'm just telling you guys what I have seen and head, don't shoot the messenger.

 

Here in England, iPads are used by nurses in wards doing their rounds. They're also used for questionnaires. I've also seen a doctor using them for x-rays. I expect their use to increase.

"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
Reply
"If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth."
- African proverb
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