Big things are in the works for healthcare from Apple, according to recent reports. Several sources have reported since late May 2016, Apple has been looking to add a “privacy counsel” specialist on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, and related privacy laws to their team.
HIPAA laws are federally mandated regulations designed to protect the privacy of patients and their personal health records. Failure to meet HIPAA standards often results in hefty fines for healthcare organizations and healthcare technology guarantors.
Considering the range of healthcare apps now available from Apple, including a Case Manager for Health Plan Workers app, a Hospital MD for Clinicians app, and many more, it makes sense that Apple developers would want to be current on the laws that govern information exchange within the healthcare industry.
But could it be something more?
According to a recent article in Time Magazine, the loss of late CEO Steve Jobs to pancreatic cancer had a profound impact on the entire Apple team.
“I believe Apple is on a mission to improve the overall health of its customers as well as that of the healthcare system, a task Jobs gave them before he died,” wrote Tim Bajarin in the Time article, “The Real Reason Apple Made the Apple Watch”.
“I believe Apple is on a mission to improve the overall health of its customers as well as that of the healthcare system.”
Bajarin reports that since late in Jobs’ life and following his death, Apple has increased its involvement in pressing healthcare concerns and has invested considerable time and funding into developing healthcare technology to address these issues. The AppleWatch, for example, can track various types of health related data and, combined with certain apps, is geared towards allowing individuals to effectively monitor and manage overall health and wellbeing.
“If you look at Apple’s current health initiatives, many are focused on helping people record data of all types and get it securely to their healthcare providers,” wrote Bajarin. “Apple also has projects related to healthcare records, management and interaction between the doctor and patient with a goal of making the patient-doctor relationship more fruitful and less frustrating.”
The fact that Apple has decided to also expand its healthcare technology team by hiring a HIPAA law specialist is a further sign that the company intends to continue to develop health data tracking tools in the future, if not new types of technology that could benefit practices and help keep patient data more secure.
In recent years, security has become one of the biggest issues for the healthcare industry. Since HIPAA law deals directly with privacy and information protection, the intent to hire a specialist might be a sign of the types of technology Apple intends to branch into within the healthcare field. With any luck, Apple will provide some much needed solutions for the healthcare industry and perhaps even, as Bajarin stated, “bring greater order to the fragmented healthcare world.”