Apple reportedly considered turning itself into a primary care clinic, powered by Apple Watch

Apple Watch showing heart rate
Apple Watch showing heart rate (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple reportedly considered opening its own clinics with its own doctors.
  • The move has since been shelved, according to a report.

Apple planned on opening its own primary care clinics, staffed with its own people, according to a new report. The move would have also seen patients monitored via an Apple Watch.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple had considered the move to the point of actually setting up test facilities and employing scores of "clinicians, engineers, product designers, and others."

The idea came after Apple COO Jeff Williams asked teams to find a way to change healthcare. With people tending to only visit a clinic when something is wrong, Apple's belief was that it could change that – by offering a subscription service that would include care via the clinics accompanied by in-home support and monitoring via Apple Watch. The project was in play back in 2016, but has since been shelved.

Apple has envisioned an audacious plan for healthcare, offering its own primary-care medical service with Apple-employed doctors at its own clinics, according to people familiar with the plan and documents. To test that and other bold healthcare ideas, it took over clinics that catered to its employees and built a team with scores of clinicians, engineers, product designers and others.

One of the reasons the project didn't get off the ground is thought to be concerns over data integrity, something Apple has reportedly told the WSJ isn't an issue.

Some employees have raised questions internally about the integrity of health data coming from the company's clinics that has been used to support product development, according to people familiar with their concerns and the documents.

Apple says that data integrity "is the foundation for all of the company's innovations."

Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously said that health will be Apple's biggest contribution to the world, and it's a company clearly trying to walk the walk in that regard. Apple Watch Series 6 is already packed full of sensors to try and keep wearers healthy and alert them of problems, for example. But an Apple-run healthcare facility does seem to be beyond it right now.

You can read more about the failed experiment in the original WSJ piece. If all this talk of health is getting you in the mood for exercise, these are the best Apple Watch deals you're likely to come across. Treat yourself!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.