Last week’s iOS 8 update was a strong hint that Apple is serious about becoming an important player in health tech.
Yesterday, rumored hire Divya Nag made her employment at Apple official on LinkedIn. Nag’s profile says she has been working on “special projects” at Apple since April, although her involvement as cofounder of StartX Med, the medical technology arm of the StartX accelerator, will also continue.
Nag will be “leading Apple’s health care initiatives,” a source tells us. 9to5Mac is reporting that she’ll be working under Dr. Michael O’Reilly, who allegedly joined Apple last summer. O’Reilly is a professor of anesthesiology at Stanford, and was previously at Masimo Corporation, which develops medical devices and sensors.
Along with her experience as a co-founder of Stem Cell Theranostics, a company working on the “treatment of heart disease through the use of pluripotent stem cells,” Nag has been advising many of StartX Med’s portfolio companies, and has led the establishment of key partnerships for the accelerator with Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Genentech, and Stanford Hospital & Clinics. Our sources are pretty confident that her experience and connections to and from StartX are significant to her hiring at Apple.
And as she’ll continue to work with and advise StartX health-tech companies, Apple will likely have a close relationship with the program (possible acquisitions, hiring sources, and so on), according to our source. In March 2013, Apple acquired WifiSlam, one of the accelerator’s portfolio companies, for $20 million. Health-related companies make up 27 percent of StartX’s current summer batch, and the accelerator has supported 33 such companies with $113 million in combined funding raised, and 20 hospitals piloting their technologies since the the health-focused program’s inception in 2012.
Our source also recently spotted Nag wearing a handful of existing wearable devices from various companies, and she appeared to be testing them out, hinting that hardware could be involved in her work at Apple. As mentioned, last week’s iOS 8 beta update included support for spirometry data, a way of testing for certain pulmonary conditions by measuring how much and fast a person inhales or exhales.
Jay Blahnik has also made his rumored employment at Apple official with an updated LinkedIn profile, which now says he’s been at the company since July 2013. Blahnik has been a key leader in developing Nike’s FuelBand. Blahnik has extensive experience and expertise in fitness, and he reportedly works on Apple wearable devices.
As Apple continues to work on its HealthKit, its rumored wearable device, and other health-tech efforts, it will also have to grapple with patient information compliance, what this will mean for devices communicating with iOS apps, and the transmission of information to and from those apps.