(TheGuardian)– Apple is launching its own primary care health clinics called AC Wellness, following Amazon and Warren Buffett’s push into healthcare.
Similar to Amazon’s team up with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan, the AC Wellness Network aims to serve Apple’s roster of employees and their families providing “compassionate, effective healthcare to the Apple employee population”.
Two healthcare centres are planned to open in the spring in Santa Clara County, California, around Cupertino, near Apple Park and Infinite Loop headquarters.
They will, the company says, provide a “unique concierge-like healthcare experience” that is “enabled by technology”. The company already promotes its Apple Watch as a health-monitoring device capable of more than simple fitness tracking.
The company is advertising for primary and acute care physicians, physical therapists, nurses and other positions. One job advert for a primary care physician, emphasises the need for experience of “preventing future disease” and “preventive care” with an “enthusiasm for new methods of care delivery using technology”.
Apple is also looking to hire “designers” tasked with implementing staff programmes to promote healthy behaviour and prevent disease, while data from LinkedIn shows former Stanford employees linked with the firm.
Apple reportedly has more than 120,000 employees, and with healthcare one of the largest staffing costs, it will be seeking to reduce its outlay by bringing services in-house and leveraging proactive schemes to improve worker health. Healthcare spending totalled $3.3tn in 2016 in the US alone, an 18% share of the country’s gross domestic product and 4.3% higher than the previous year, according to the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Healthcare is a critical recruitment tool for businesses in the US, with companies gaining tax breaks for offering services, but the costs of providing those services are growing.
Apple will reportedly use its AC Wellness clinics and staff to test its own healthcare-related technologies. The company is involved in studies around heart health partnering with Stanford School of Medicine using its Apple Watch and its heart rate sensor. It also provides devices and tools to the medical industry that it says will make healthcare “more personal”.