Apple is known as a hardware and software maker, but it will soon embark on an entirely new role: healthcare provider. In an effort to provide the “world’s best health care experience,” Apple is planning to launch a series of healthcare clinics for its employees, CNBC reports.
The clinics are called AC Wellness, and Apple is opening its first two clinics in Santa Clara County, California. One will be located at its new Apple Park headquarters, the other will be slightly north of its Cupertino campus. The endeavor will include a primary care group as well as a fitness coach, care navigator, and a phlebotomist for handling on-site lab work. According to job listings for the new medical network, AC Wellness will also add a couple more unique roles to the mix: a population health designer and clinical program design lead. These individuals will help build and implement disease prevention programs for Apple staffers, as well as programs to generally promote healthy habits.
Apple isn’t the first to venture into this realm. Amazon partnered with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan to develop a cost-effective way to improve employee healthcare for the companies’ combined 1 million employees. The health plan will reportedly be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” according to Bloomberg. The plan also promises to provide transparent clinic visit and lab test costs and to give patients the ability to directly purchase any necessary medical equipment themselves.
It’s feasible that Apple’s healthcare clinics would implement similar measures, although Apple didn’t offer comment for CNBC’s report.
Apple has made it clear that it is interested in the health tech space—specifically in seeing if devices like the Apple Watch can be useful as medical diagnostic tools. In trials with health startup Cardiogram and the University of California, San Francisco, Apple’s smartwatch was able to successfully identify users with sleep apnea and hypertension. It was also successful in identifying atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat condition that can be an early warning sign of stroke.
Between monitoring health stats on an Apple Watch, keeping track of your data in iOS’ Health app, and now its healthcare clinics, Apple will be in a unique position to test out modern preventative care, helping its employees to stay healthy and potentially cutting back on costs in an extremely costly industry.