It’s safe to say something strange is happening in the health care industry. One of the biggest insurers in America is being bought out by a store most famous for its absurd receipts. Amazon and two of the biggest financial institutions of the world have decided they can do a better job on their own, with their own health insurance network. And now Apple is joining the fray with what will start as a network of private clinics for its employees, but with hints at wider ambitions.
Apple will be starting small, but may have grand ambitions, according to Computerworld:
The clinics will only cater for the health needs of Apple employees and will be situated at several locations in the area, including Apple Park, the report claims. The idea makes sense — Apple will already be coughing up significant fees to provide healthcare services for its employees, so actually launching its own service makes sense — it can reduce running costs while leveraging the offer for future health insights.
It’s that last part that may give a few Apple employees pause. Apple has been delving more and more into the healthcare sector, and the company may view this not just as a service offered to its employees, but also a great experimental group to test out new records tech and other ideas. Because nothing improves worker happiness like the sneaking suspicion your own employer views you the same way doctors view a gerbil. And, of course, Apple may eventually open this to the wider public, since it’s already tracking your health via the Apple Watch. So we can all be unpaid test subjects in addition to receiving medical care!
That said, what’s most attention-getting here is that Apple is bothering with this at all. Keep in mind, healthcare isn’t cheap. And yet, companies across the board are increasingly deciding it makes more sense to just start their own healthcare networks rather than use the traditional healthcare industry. That doesn’t say much positive about our current system, and it forces us to wonder why it’s cheaper to start and run an entirely separate company just to limit health care costs.