Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) would have serious ambitions to expand its presence in the healthcare sector.
What happened: Apple is working to deploy its iPhones as a diagnostic device to detect neurodegenerative diseases such as depression, anxiety and cognitive decline, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing people familiar with the subject and reviewed documents by publication.
Apple hopes to use sensor data on mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns and typing behavior, among other factors, to test digital signals associated with target conditions, according to the report.
This would help create algorithms to detect underlying conditions reliably.
These efforts are part of Apple’s R&D partnerships with the University of California, Los Angeles, which studies stress, anxiety and depression, and Biogen, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB), which studies mild cognitive impairment.
“Seabreeze” is Apple’s code name for the UCLA project and “Pi” is the code name for the Biogen project, according to the Journal report.
The UCLA study will collect data from 3,000 volunteers starting in 2021, and Biogen intends to enroll approximately 20,000 people in the study over the next two years.
Creating algorithms that are reliable enough to accurately diagnose specific conditions is a daunting task, according to the Journal report, which adds that Apple executives are excited about the possibility.
Related link: How are pre-orders for Apple’s iPhone 13 models tracked
Why this is important: Apple now offers apps on iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch to deliver essential health information to patients and healthcare providers.
Wolf Ventures Management partner Gene Munster sees Apple’s healthcare ambitions rooted in devices and data that can be leveraged by clinicians for care.
The company’s health initiatives will be made up of three building blocks: data capture, data sharing and care delivery, Munster said.
Apple Watch models have features like high / low heart rate notification, irregular rhythm notification, ECG app and more.
The company plans to include various types of monitoring, including blood pressure, temperature, sleep, and blood sugar, in future versions of the Apple Watch.
AAPL price action: Apple shares rose 0.72% to $ 143.97 at noon Tuesday.
Related Link: Why Stop at Watches? Apple plans to turn its wireless headphones into health devices
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