Apple announced it will conduct three new health studies according to Vice President of Health Sumbul Desai. They will gather data from customers who participate using the new free Apple Research app which will be available soon.
The Women’s Health Study, conducted in partnership with NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health will study gynecological conditions and menstrual cycles. They have hired an obstetrician, Kaiser-affiliated Dr. Christine Curry, to bolster their women’s health efforts.
The Apple Hearing Study, conducted along with the University of Michigan, will study how sound exposure effects hearing health. Apple plans to share their findings with the World Health Organization, which has a Make Listening Safe initiative. The initiative hopes to limit hearing loss from personal audio devices and entertainment venues.
Apple’s Heart and Movement Study, conducted in partnership with the American Heart Association and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, will study how movement can improve cardiovascular health. Apple also announced anyone who own the Apple Watch Series 4 can download the latest update can detect atrial fibrillation. It’s not for people already diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.
Some employees at Apple have expressed disappointment with the company’s focus on a broad range of healthy Apple users/ The believe Apple can tackle major issues, such as telemedicine, as opposed to wellness and fitness.
Apple’s foray into health isn’t new. In 2015, the company created ResearchKit, an open source framework, to gather data from iPhone apps for researchers and scientists studying autism, epilepsy and other diseases. CEO Tim Cook has talked about health being Apple’s legacy. They have hired dozens of doctors for their health team, which is headed by the company’s COO. Apple isn’t the only tech company interested in health. Alphabet and Microsoft are also branching out into the medical sector.