Apple looks to build sophisticated health chips to process complex data

By Catherine Sturman
Through a number of new job postings, Apple has revealed that it is looking to further enhance its ability to obtain advanced health information through...

Through a number of new job postings, Apple has revealed that it is looking to further enhance its ability to obtain advanced health information through the use of sensors in a number of its healthcare technologies.

From its Apple Watch to the traditional iPhone, custom chips will enable the business to further support those with long-term healthcare conditions, such as diabetes, improving overall efficiency and delivering exceptional patient care. CNBC has previously reported that it's also working on non-invasive blood-sugar monitoring through the use of optical sensing technology.

One job posting from Apple's Health Sensing hardware team has stated: "We are looking for sensor ASIC architects to help develop ASICs for new sensors and sensing systems for future Apple products. We have openings for analogue as well as digital ASIC architects."

Another has called for engineers who can work to "develop health, wellness, and fitness sensors."

Over the last five years, healthcare funding among the 10 largest IT companies in the United States has increased from $277mn to $2.7bn.

At present, Apple’s products provide health-focused tools, promoting its stance on health and wellbeing. Areas include all areas of exercise, heart rate and the sleep patterns of its users. The company has also undergone heart studies with Stanford University to develop new tools to detect atrial fibrillation.

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Working with a number of suppliers, such as Broadcom, the company caused controversy last year by parting ways with former graphic chip designer, Imagination Technologies, leading its stock price to tank and the business to be sold.

However, by developing specialised chips to gain essential healthcare data and drive exceptional performance, the company will aim to protect its intellectual property against rampant competition.

The news follows on from Apple’s recent hiring drive, where significant numbers have joined its wellness clinic, officially launched this year. Named AC Wellness, the subsidiary aims to transform primary care, and firmly put the ‘care’ back into patient services.

Additionally, launching its Apple Health Records service this year, enabling users of over 500 hospitals and clinics to gain access to their electronic health records and clinical data through their iPhone. Users can also access features such as putting forth prescription requests, accessing lab results, as well as a nutrition app and more.

Recently, up to nine further hospitals and clinics have signed up to Apple’s Health Records, enabling more patients to gain access to their clinical data. Included are Buffalo Medical Group in New York, Carroll County Memorial Hospital (Missouri) Coquille Valley Hospital (Oregon).

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