Apple’s Health Ambitions Face Internal Problems and Departures

Apple health icon

A report on Tuesday examines the myriad of internal problems Apple’s Health team has faced. Departures, company politics, and a lack of direction have left the company struggling (via Business Insider).

Apple’s Health Team

The investigation is based on based on conversations with 11 current and former Apple employees and the review of dozens of documents. Fred Sainz, a senior director of corporate communications for Apple, responded to the article, saying, “Any and all allegations of retaliatory behavior are investigated thoroughly and handled with appropriate corrective actions.”

One story is from Dr. Will Poe, a doctor that was part of the Health team. In December 2019 he emailed a resignation letter to Tim Cook, outlining “in blistering terms” why the team was unable to do meaningful work.

One of his chief concerns was that the members of the team in charge of the health centers were telling Williams that the patient care they provided was “high quality.” But at that time, Apple wasn’t measuring quality in the clinics with standardized metrics, some of the people said, and it was rounding up results from patient-satisfaction surveys in reviews.

Other employees say they were treated poorly after raising concerns:

In 2019, Dr. Bronwyn Harris, a former CEO whose healthcare startup was acquired by Apple, drew a steady stream of criticism from Desai after Harris contradicted her about a team initiative in front of Williams, two former employees said. Harris had also spoken up about what she viewed as poor care at AC Wellness that year, one of them said.

The full report can be found here.

One thought on “Apple’s Health Ambitions Face Internal Problems and Departures

  • Andrew:

    An interesting read. Many thanks for flagging it. 

    Blake Dodge’s Business Insider piece makes this sound like a lack of corporate leadership and vision, complicated by the absence of clearly defined roadmap. Having virtually no inside knowledge of the inner workings of Apple, let alone their health team, I have no independent knowledge as to whether or not this is correct, but it would explain team member unhappiness, recriminations and departures. 

    If Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, to whom all of the health team members report, is himself not versed in the complexities of healthcare, and if the team were looking to him for that vision and direction, then it would be little wonder that various factions would both lobby for and be frustrated by a lack of progress with their separate but competing visions. 

    There are three broad areas in healthcare that Apple could go, potentially all three, but each requires not only a specific skill set, but the active participation of other disciplines at Apple, including hardware and software engineers, AI specialists, programmers, data managers specialised in healthcare, and legal, apart from the doctors and other healthcare specialists that Apple hired. All would need to be on board, and aligned with the vision and integrated roadmap. 

    None of this is in evidence from the article, which is not to say that it isn’t there; rather that it is nowhere alluded to or described. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.