Ambitious Health Projects Are Causing Disputes, High-Turnover at Apple HQ

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Some employees at Apple may have major plans when it comes to the health sphere, but not everyone on the company’s health team agrees with that direction.

In fact, Apple’s health team has seen a handful of “high-profile departures” over the last couple of years due to internal disagreements about the direction of Apple’s health ambitions, CNBC’s Christina Farr reported.

Apple’s Health Ambitions

Health has long appeared to be one of the next frontiers for Apple. And according to the CNBC report, some employees on the Cupertino tech giant’s health team want larger and more ambitious projects to be taken on to “tackle bigger challenges in the health-care system.”

Some of those projects could include:

  1. A proprietary Apple telemedicine service.
  2. First-party medical devices.
  3. Simplified insurance billing platforms.

But other people on Apple’s health team are satisfied with the company’s current direction in the sphere. Namely, taking care of a user’s health and wellness with fitness and other preventative measures.

CNBC notes that this — which some believe is simply developing features for an already healthy population — appears to be Apple’s current direction.

Health Team Structure

The CNBC report focuses on the fact that some employees on Apple’s health team have become “disillusioned” with its culture. Some of them feel “sidelined” or that their bigger ideas are unable to be put forth.

On the other hand, it isn’t clear if the health team attrition rate is actually higher than other teams. At a large company like Apple, disagreement and turnover could be a commonplace occurrence.

According to Farr, a recent employee morale survey indicated that Apple’s health team showed “signs of discontent.” Apple COO Jeff Williams spoke with several employees to address their concerns.

Williams has headed the health team for several years. Under him, other high-profile health team leaders include Kevin Lynch, who oversees Apple Health Records; Eugene Kim, who spearheads Apple Watch hardware; and Sumbul Desai, who is in charge of the ECG app, Apple Heart Study and Apple’s heart health strategy.

CNBC notes that most of the health team’s departures worked under Desai.

Apple Watch ECG Launch

When Apple launched the watchOS ECG app last year, some employees were apparently “frustrated” with the negative reactions from medical industry insiders.

Those employees apparently wanted a “small and focused product launch” that included plenty of feedback from doctors and others in the medical community. That would be a way to avoid pushback.

On the other hand, Apple did actually secretly invite cardiologists and other medical insiders to its Apple Park headquarters every six months or so while the ECG app was being developed.

And, of course, despite any criticism, the ECG app has already proven to be a life-saving plaform.

What This Suggests

All in all, the report suggests that there are a number of employees on Apple’s health team that want the company to take on much more ambitious projects.

From an Apple Health clinic to first-party Apple medical devices, there are plenty of health developments that once seemed fairly far-fetched. Even at this point, it’s not clear if Apple will actually take on any of those projects. But the CNBC report suggests that some people at Apple are at least thinking about those endeavors.

Even now, Apple’s health care strategy has proven to be fairly successful. And that’s important because CEO Tim Cook once called those health-related efforts Apple’s “greatest contribution to mankind.

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