Apple is launching medical clinics for its employees in the latest attempt by a large tech company to address the U.S.’s growing healthcare problem. The new project, called AC Wellness, is launching sometime in the spring, according to its new website.
AC Wellness was first reported by CNBC, which cited anonymouse sources who said the Apple subsidiary will launch two clinics in California’s Santa Clara County, where Apple’s headquarters are located.
The project’s website says it aims to provide a “unique concierge-like healthcare experience” that is “enabled by technology,” a vision of health that is quickly becoming popular among the innovation economy as tech types turn their attention to innovating in healthcare.
AC Wellness lists 10 open jobs on its website, including physicians, medical assistants and nurses — but four of the 10 positions are focused on elements of healthcare outside traditional medical care.
They include a Care Navigator, which “sets the tone for the patient experience”; two Health Partners that will work “in direct partnership with the primary care physician to help patients improve health and wellness through sustainable behavior change”; and one clinical exercise coach.
CNBC also reports that Apple will use the clinics to test some of the company’s latest health experiments, like its ongoing research with Stanford that is studying if the Apple Watch can be used to detect heart abnormalities.
The project is still in its planning phases, still hiring for key staff, but seems to be well on its way to a reality.
The covert unveiling of AC Wellness comes just a few weeks after Amazon announced a new healthcare venture in partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, with the goal of “improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs.”
In a recent interview, Berkshire Hathaway CEO and investor Warren Buffett said the healthcare problem in America is bad for business. The U.S. spends 18 percent of its GDP on healthcare, the highest in the world, but tends to have worse health outcomes than many other industrialized countries.
“We have got a huge, competitive disadvantage in American businesses, far more important than any tax change, in terms of our healthcare costs,” Buffett said.
As debates over health insurance and coverage simmer in government offices around the country, tech companies and other businesses are increasingly taking matters into their own hands. The tech economy, which is constantly running short on the engineering talent it needs, is a prime petri dish for companies to try and woo employees using the incentive of better, more pleasant or more affordable healthcare.