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
15 months ago
maybe employees didn't use it because their health is their own business
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tobefirst ⚽️ Avatar
15 months 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
15 months 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
15 months 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
15 months 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
15 months ago

('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)

Related Stories

apple store palo alto

Apple Attracting Retail Workers With Improved Benefits

Tuesday February 8, 2022 9:17 am PST by
Apple is introducing improved benefits for its retail employees in order to attract and retain workers in the current labor market, reports Bloomberg. Updated benefits are applicable to both full time and part time employees, with Apple now offering 12 paid sick days, up from six. Sick days can be used for mental health leave, illnesses, or taking family members to the doctor. Apple is...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Google Employees to Return to Offices on April 4, Will Apple Follow?

Wednesday March 2, 2022 1:19 pm PST by
Google today told employees that they will need to return to their physical offices starting on Monday, April 4, reports CNBC. This will apply to employees located in the Bay Area, which is where Google has a Mountain View-based main campus, along with employees in other locations around the United States. Santa Clara County,t where Google and Apple are located, has been lifting...
series6leds

iOS 15 Hints at Rumored Apple Watch Series 7 Feature

Wednesday June 23, 2021 3:17 am PDT by
A new feature in Apple's upcoming iOS 15 update appears to lay the groundwork for a rumored Apple Watch Series 7 health monitoring feature. iOS 15, Apple's recently-announced major software update for the iPhone, features a number of additions to the Health app, such as the ability to share health data with other people, trends, new metrics for walking steadiness, and more. One of the...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Sets April 11 Deadline for U.S. Employees to Return to Office

Friday March 4, 2022 7:41 am PST by
Apple has set an April 11 deadline for corporate employees in the U.S. to return to offices like Apple Park, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple is planning for a hybrid in-office and at-home work schedule going forward. The report states that Apple employees will be required to work from the office at least one day per week by April 11, at least two days per week by May 2, and at...
google logo

Google's 'Pixel Watch' Planned for 2022 Launch to Compete With Apple Watch

Friday December 3, 2021 6:59 am PST by
Google is planning to launch its first smartwatch next year, according to a new report from Business Insider, signaling Google's expansion into creating smartwatch hardware rather than just software. Google has so far only developed wearOS, an operating system that the company has partnered with Samsung and others to implement into smartwatch offerings. Next year, however, Google is planning ...
apple employees trio

Apple Giving Many U.S. Retail Employees Raises

Friday February 11, 2022 3:28 pm PST by
Apple is giving many of its U.S. retail employees raises ranging from two percent to 10 percent depending on location, reports Bloomberg. Salespeople, Genius Bar support staff, and some senior hourly workers are being granted pay increases. Apple is said to be boosting the pay of its retail employees because of inflation, the difficult labor market, and staff complaints about working...
apple health keynote

WSJ: Apple Piloted Running Its Own Subscription Based Primary Healthcare Service With 'Apple Doctors'

Wednesday June 16, 2021 2:38 am PDT by
In 2016, Apple considered an "audacious" plan to launch its own healthcare service, based on a subscription, with "Apple doctors" at clinics for customers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The project, which has since stalled due to internal concerns, was to offer customers an all-encompassing healthcare service that would integrate data collected from the iPhone and Apple Watch. On the ...
apple watch abc action news

Apple Watch Saves Woman's Life With Feature She'd Never Heard Of

Wednesday March 23, 2022 1:59 am PDT by
An Apple Watch has been credited with saving a woman's life after it contacted emergency services when she fell, leading to a lung cancer diagnosis, ABC Action News reports. 71-year-old grandmother Raylene Hackenwerth, from Saint Petersburg, Florida, fell in early March, triggering her Apple Watch's Fall Detection feature. The Apple Watch's Fall Detection feature can tell when a wearer has...

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
Stage Manager Extension Thumb 1

New iPadOS 16.1 Beta Expands Stage Manager to Older iPad Pro Models, Delays External Display Support

Tuesday September 27, 2022 10:24 am PDT by
The most recent beta of iPadOS 16.1 expands the controversial Stage Manager feature to older iPads, allowing it to work with iPad Pro models that have an A12X or A12Z chip, according to information Apple provided to Engadget. The beta also removes the external display support from Stage Manager for the current time, with the feature set to return in a later iPadOS 16 update. Apple's...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
john meyer ultra

Apple Watch Ultra Praised by Watch World Tastemaker John Mayer

Monday September 26, 2022 4:42 am PDT by
Apple Watch Ultra has been endorsed by American musician and famous watch collector John Mayer, who has been showing off the new device on his Instagram account. "Been wearing the Apple Watch Ultra for a week... and it's great," writes Mayer over a photo of the watch. "The first Apple Watch that excited me as a mechanical watch collector." "It's loaded with capability and what I call...