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.
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.