Report: Apple Scaling Back Internal 'HealthHabit' Project for Employee Health Tracking and Coaching

Apple is scaling back its work on a critical internal initiative within its health department, possibly presenting a significant setback to the company's long-term health goals, as well as the departure of multiple staff members, according to a report from Business Insider.

apple health keynote
The initiative in question is an internal app used by employees called "HealthHabit" that allowed them to monitor and log a wide range of health metrics, such as fitness goals, management of hypertension, and gain direct access to clinicians in the AC Wellness group, a doctors group that has Apple has partnered with.

According to Business Insider, Apple is "scaling back" HealthHabit, which had a dedicated team of 50 employees working on the app. The report notes that employees who previously worked on the app will be dismissed unless they find another role within the company.

More than 50 employees were spending a significant amount of time working on the app. Some of them will be laid off with severance if they're unable to find other roles inside Apple in the next few weeks, two of the people said. The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Their identities are known to Insider.

At its original inception, Apple had hoped that HealthHabit would allow for experimentation of possible new health services. HealthHabit is one project part of Apple Health, a division within Apple that consists of hundreds of engineers, scientists, doctors, designers, and more that oversee Apple's health features, such as the ones inside the Apple Watch.

Despite the cutback on staff and resources, the report notes that HealthHabit may continue internally at a much smaller scale or possibly shut down entirely. A report in June by The Wall Street Journal detailed how Apple has piloted the idea of launching a healthcare service based on a subscription model with "Apple Doctors." That project, spearheaded by Dr. Sumbul Desai of Stanford University, has, however, stalled.

Over the past few years, Apple has continued to build health features into the iPhone and Apple Watch. In the years to come, Apple is looking to expand the capability of the Apple Watch itself by adding new sensors, such as temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol monitoring.

Top Rated Comments

now i see it Avatar
5 weeks ago
maybe employees didn't use it because their health is their own business
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tobefirst Avatar
5 weeks ago
I wonder the reason behind this. Health continues to be more and more important to Apple, and I think Cook has said that this is the area where they could affect humanity most, so shutting down a portion of that group seems strange.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RUQRU Avatar
5 weeks ago
Most employees are not comfortable with their employer have access to their intimate health metrics. I would not use the app if I worked there.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DanTSX Avatar
5 weeks ago

And certainly Apple might be entitled to them, if there is an offsetting measure, such as better customer service, saving lives, better efficiencies etc.
And vaccine status

Put it in Apple wallet and a phone app

Let me know by proximity when I’m near anti vaxxers so I can mask up and start spraying disinfects in their direction.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bobcomer Avatar
5 weeks ago

I wonder the reason behind this. Health continues to be more and more important to Apple, and I think Cook has said that this is the area where they could affect humanity most, so shutting down a portion of that group seems strange.
It probably came down to privacy again.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheLastUserName Avatar
5 weeks ago

[IMG width="251px"]https://images.macrumors.com/images-new/macrumorsthreadlogo@3x.png[/IMG] ('https://www.macrumors.com/2021/08/19/apple-scaling-back-internal-health-project/')

Apple is scaling back its work on a critical internal initiative within its health department, possibly presenting a significant setback to the company's long-term health goals, as well as the departure of multiple staff members, according to a report from Business Insider ('https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-scaling-back-healthhabit-app-layoffs-2021-8').



The initiative in question is an internal app used by employees called "HealthHabit" that allowed them to monitor and log a wide range of health metrics, such as fitness goals, management of hypertension, and gain direct access to clinicians in the AC Wellness group, a doctors group that has Apple has partnered with.

According to Business Insider, Apple is "scaling back" HealthHabit, which had a dedicated team of 50 employees working on the app. The report notes that employees who previously worked on the app will be dismissed unless they find another role within the company.
At its original inception, Apple had hoped that HealthHabit would allow for experimentation of possible new health services. HealthHabit is one project part of Apple Health, a division within Apple that consists of hundreds of engineers, scientists, doctors, designers, and more that oversee Apple's health features, such as the ones inside the Apple Watch.

Despite the cutback on staff and resources, the report notes that HealthHabit may continue internally at a much smaller scale or possibly shut down entirely. A report in June ('https://www.macrumors.com/2021/06/16/apple-primary-healthcare-service-wsj/') by The Wall Street Journal detailed how Apple has piloted the idea of launching a healthcare service based on a subscription model with "Apple Doctors." That project, spearheaded by Dr. Sumbul Desai of Stanford University, has, however, stalled.

Over the past few years, Apple has continued to build health features into the iPhone and Apple Watch. In the years to come, Apple is looking to expand the capability of the Apple Watch itself by adding new sensors, such as temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol monitoring ('https://www.macrumors.com/2021/05/03/apple-watch-blood-pressure-glucose-alcohol/').

Article Link: Report: Apple Scaling Back Internal 'HealthHabit' Project for Employee Health Tracking and Coaching ('https://www.macrumors.com/2021/08/19/apple-scaling-back-internal-health-project/')
Apple Health has had issues for years. I have to wonder if the fate of HealthHabit is just a symptom of deeper problems.

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/08/20/apple-health-team-tension-report/

Dr Desai's project and team have faced pushback from Apple employees. Some employees, including midlevel managers, have been critical of the way Dr Desai's unit "discourages critical feedback," including allegations that the unit provided inaccurate data about the performance of the test clinics.

Employees concerned about the culture pointed to a 2019 meeting during which a midlevel manager raised questions about data, according to people familiar with the meeting and the documents. Dr. Desai responded angrily, leading some present to conclude that critical questions were unwelcome, according to the people and the documents. The manager left Apple weeks later, and the episode contributed to her departure, documents show.

https://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2021/06/a-wall-street-journal-report-casts-doubt-on-apples-health-care-service-plan-by-noting-that-its-strug.html
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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