Apple has reportedly acquired Gliimpse, a technology startup that translates medical records in actionable data. A report by Fast Company said the deal went through earlier this year, but both the companies involved have not spoken about it yet.
Gliimpse was founded in 2013 by one-time Apple employee and serial entrepreneur Anil Sethi and IIT Chennai graduate Karthik Hariharan. On his LinkedIn page, Sethi describes Gliimpse thus: “We enable patients to collect their lifelong history, so they can share it with their care network – physicians, friends and family.”
In fact, Sethi, who has always been working in the healthcare sector, says he’s helping his “little sister manage her Stage IV Breast Cancer diagnosis, through data”. “As a consumer of healthcare, I leave behind a bread-crumb-trail of medical info wherever I’ve been seen. But, I’m unable to easily access or share my own data. Obamacare is one of several forcing functions federally mandating physicians and hospitals give us our data: meds, labs, allergies,” he writes, adding how there is still no single Electronic Health Record that all physicians use, sigh. “Worse, there isn’t even a common file format across a 1000+ systems,” Sethi writes in his bio, giving a glimpse into why Gliimpse was set up.
Apple has been focusing a lot on health technologies and has integrated HealthKit, CareKit and ResearchKit at the operating system level. There are many ways in which Gliimpse technology can be integrated to Apple devices and ecosystem, however it is too early to guess exactly how it will work. Apple is already working with many startups and institutions to take health data integration to the next level.
It is also sound business. By some estimates healthcare is a $9 trillion global business and it is no surprise that Apple is striving for a big pie in the consumer side of this segment. It already has a head start thanks to the Apple Watch, which is expected to get a serious upgrade in the coming weeks.
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s vision has been to simplify health care, and the data that comes with it. Speaking in Amsterdam earlier this year he said health is one of the focus areas for his company when it comes to “some of society’s biggest problems and challenges”. “And arguably the health care system can be made much simpler, can have much better results, you can have patients that really feel like customers…and have systems and applications that bring out the best in the medical professionals…I think the runway there is enormous.”