11 June 2019

5 Ways Apple are Moving into Medical.

By Cameron Ramsden

These awards represent best-in-class app design on their platform and Butterfly iQ’s win is indicative of the medical and tech space (particularly Apple) becoming more intertwined than ever.

I’ve written about Butterfly iQ and other exciting new ground being broken in ultrasound before, but not with regard to the Silicon Valley giant. However, from speaking with my colleagues, it’s evident that Apple are cropping up in more and more areas of the medical device space, in various different forms.

I asked my colleagues, all specialising in different medical disciplines, where they’d seen or heard Apple crop up. 

Medtronic, MiniMed & Automated Insulin Delivery

Our resident diabetes expert, James Barraclough mentioned the recent announcement from Medtonic at the American Diabetes Association in San Francisco’s AGM last week:

“Medtronic, a leader in diabetes devices, announced that they were developing a Bluetooth-enabled MiniMed pump which works in collaboration with Tidepool Loop – an open source iPhone and Apple Watch app. This could be significant in that both organisations have high hopes that the tech will receive FDA approval for automated insulin delivery.

iPhone-to-pump communication could break really exciting new ground for Medtronic, Apple and Tidepool in that it could offer truly individual diabetes management systems without any invasive sample taking. I’m watching this one really closely”.

You can read more about James’ thoughts on the diabetes market here

Transformative Tooth Tracking Tech

Another company leveraging app-based technology and Apple’s reach are Align Technology. They’re a global orthodontics manufacturer who have released the ‘My Invisalign’ app, that Invisalign patients can use to track their progress.

Here’s what Megan Dacey, the Dental and Orthodontics specialist said:

“Invisalign is already the market leading clear aligner and Align have added even more value to their product by enabling patients to conveniently track their progress and set reminders to help them stay on track with their treatment. This app ensures patients are even more bought into their technology and achieve the best results, so patients achieve that ‘better smile’ Align promises them.”

Megan wrote about AI in the dental space recently too, which you can take a look at here 

Speeding Up Post-Op Recovery 

Apple have also teamed up with orthopaedic specialist Zimmer Biomet to create mymobility, an app which enables patients to track their recovery from knee and hip operations. Their aim is to identify why some patients recover from procedures more quickly than others. Alex Keelan works in this space for Charlton Morris: 

“Whilst Apple are unlikely to make it into the OR anytime soon, this is a really interesting application for their technology in an app. In the US, more than 1 million hip and knee replacements happen every year so by creating a centralised place for patients to track progress, Apple are creating a goldmine for useful, actionable data.

Added to this is the fact that the app (and by association, Apple) will help guide patients through their recovery and you could be seeing a sign of things to come in the orthopaedic space”. 

You can read more about how AI is affecting orthopaedics here

Harnessing Virtual Reality For Real-World Results 

Lots of device manufacturers realise that harnessing VR is a real opportunity, but no-one seems to have got it quite right, or have they? Ceevra Reveal is an app for surgeons which helps with the planning and execution of complex procedures. Resident robotics & tech expert James Stinson told me about the technology: 

“Ceevra Reveal converts a patient’s existing MRI or CT scan into an interactive 3D model, meaning surgeons can view them on their mobile device or, better yet, through a VR headset. This application could be one of the first, and so far only, ways in which VR is realising its potential for benefit in the OR”. 

With all five of these announcements, partnerships and technological advances happening in the last 12 months, it’s clear that Apple aren’t slowing down in their hunt for a slice of the multi-trillion-dollar healthcare market.

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By Cameron Ramsden

Cameron Ramsden is a Senior Business Consultant and specialises in medical imaging. He works in North America across all modalities, representing start-ups through to established market leaders who are looking to add to their teams. 

Since RSNA in November 2018, he has seen an increase in demand from both growing AI companies looking for new talent and candidates looking to move into the field. Assignments have varied but Cameron has been particularly successful in using his network to help AI companies scale in US and expand into Europe.

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