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    Apple Opens its Own Medical Clinics: 4 Things Health Execs Should Know


    Apple is creating its own medical clinics for its employees and their families in Santa Clara County, CA, reported CNBC.

    The primary care clinics, called AC Wellness, aim to deliver “compassionate, effective healthcare to the Apple employee population,” according to the website.

    Read: Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. joined forces to address healthcare for their employees.

     Ruttle Ruttle

    “Apple has been working on healthcare innovation—first with their apps, including HealthKit, geared toward tracking and monitoring health vitals to help achieve better health outcomes,” says Deirdre Ruttle, vice president, strategy for InstaMed, a payments network that connects providers, payers, and consumers on one platform. “The thing that jumps out to me on the AC Wellness website, is the repeated reference to patient experience. We’ve been seeing trends in consumers demanding better healthcare experiences both on the clinical and administrative sides.” 

    Similar to many other companies, Apple seeks greater insight and control over employee healthcare costs and outcomes, according to Paul Clark, director of healthcare research at Digital Reasoning, a provider of AI-powered solutions that enable business leaders in the healthcare, financial and government sector to mine insights from human communication.

    “On-site medical clinics are one of the few interventions with a demonstrable ROI on employee health, performance, and costs,” Clark says. “The potential game changer will be Apple's ‘technology-enabled’ features. This will serve as an effective experimental lab for Apple's growing healthcare toolkit; a proving grounds for potential competition to the traditional healthcare players—not just payers and providers but technology vendors as well.” 


    Technology has revolutionized the way consumers go about their daily lives, and altered their expectations of healthcare, Ruttle says. “As consumers spend more out of pocket on healthcare, their tolerance for poor experiences is waning significantly. For example, look at the healthcare payments experience. It’s drowning in paper and consumer confusion. Meanwhile, in other consumer payment experiences, it’s clear what services will cost, there are multiple ways to make payments and there are clear communications throughout the payment experience.”


    Here are four takeaways industry watchers want you to know about the Apple move:

        1.    As an industry, we need to make a shift to a consumer-centric mindset. “Healthcare organizations, both providers and payers, need to put themselves in the shoes of their patients and members and take a hard look at the experience,” Ruttle says. “The good news is that these experience improvements not only benefit consumers, but they often lead to more efficient processes within an organization.”

        2.   We can all learn from each other. There’s no reason that Apple should be creating this new practice in a bubble, according to Ruttle. “In fact, there is speculation they are tapping a premier West Coast hospital to get AC Wellness up and running. That’s a good thing, and I hope to see more of it.”

    Healthcare needs to look to the technology giants and their progress to help shape the way they do business as well, according to Ruttle. “We all know that the consumer experience needs work in healthcare and no one addresses the needs of consumers better than companies like Apple and Amazon.” 

        3.   The national healthcare landscape continues to be starved for value creation. Nearly every other industry has garnered massive returns in productivity, quality and cost from investments in technology, according to Clark. “As the costs of healthcare continue to rise and more of those costs are felt by consumers, healthcare will need to translate the past decade's investment in digitization to true care transformation with tangible ROI that patients can see and feel,” he says.

        4.   Apple isn’t afraid to experiment with their own employees and organization to test potentially transformative innovations. “If Apple and other employers succeed in owning and managing their own clinics, it will only be a matter of time before they start to annex other commodities in health insurance and care delivery,” Clark says. “The healthcare innovation and health population land grab has begun!”



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