Report: Aetna, Apple in Talks about Offering Plan Members Apple Watches | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Report: Aetna, Apple in Talks about Offering Plan Members Apple Watches

August 17, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Aetna, which already offers the Apple Watch to its employees as part of a wellness program, is now in talks with Apple about pushing the wearable device to the health insurer’s members, according to a report in CNBC.

The report from health technology reporter Christina Farr noted that “Apple and Aetna held a series of secret discussions last week to bring Apple's health and fitness-tracking smartwatch to millions more people connected to Aetna,” according to Farr’s sources.

The Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna covers some 23 million people, and the plan would be to offer them a free or discounted Apple Watch as a perk. The meeting last week included executives from Aetna and Apple, as well as hospital chief medical information officers (CMIOs) across the country, Farr reported. One of her sources also noted that Aetna's proposed timeline is slated for early next year.

And, according to a Business Insider analysis of the deal, “It could provide more refined use cases for Apple Watch apps. Health apps from insurance companies could incentivize consumers to use these devices. Aetna plans to develop a suite of iOS health initiatives with support from Apple, which would give Aetna customers access to integrated health apps for the Apple Watch, iPhone, and iPad.”

In 2014 Apple released its long-awaited smartwatch with one of its aims being to better monitor consumers’ health by collecting data and sharing it with providers. It was then a year later when provider organizations such as New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System began using the Apple Watch to help manage patients suffering from chronic diseases. At Ochsner, the Apple Watch is used to enhance the effectiveness of the provider’s hypertension digital medicine program, an initiative that tracks several hundred patients who are struggling to control their blood pressure. Through the Apple Watch, patients were able to receive medication reminders which included actual pictures of the pill; feedback from clinicians about potential side effects once a new medication is prescribed; renewal notification for prescriptions, and activity tracking and exercise reminders.

CNBC’s Farr was also the first to report a few other stories related to Apple’s latest forays into health IT. For one, it was reported in April that Apple has been building a “secret team” to develop sensors that can noninvasively and continuously monitor blood sugar levels to better treat diabetes. What’s more, the tech giant has been establishing another team, and is in talks with a multitude of healthcare stakeholders, about bringing all of a patient’s health information together via its flagship product—the iPhone, according to a June story.

Regarding the medical record project, Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, told Healthcare Informatics that the report does have legs. Said Tripathi, speaking to the specialized market advantage that Apple has, “Apple has a unique positioning where it is in customers’ minds with respect to people having already put their faith in Apple. You have your smartphone and your Apple ID, and you have it right there already with your most personal and deepest and darkest things already on your phone. So why not medical records, too?”

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Blockchain Company Hashed Health Gets New Partner

ODH, Inc., a New Jersey-based health technology company, has joined with blockchain innovation consortium Hashed Health.

NCQA Approved by Government as ONC-Authorized Testing Lab

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has announced that its eMeasure testing laboratory is now approved by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Survey: Infrastructure, Interoperability Key Barriers to Global HIT Development

A new survey report from Black Book Research on global healthcare IT adoption and records systems connectivity finds nations in various phases of regional electronic health record (EHR) adoption. The survey results also reveal rapidly advancing opportunities for U.S.-based and local technology vendors.

Penn Medicine Opens Up Telehealth Hub

Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine has opened its Center for Connected Care to centralize the health system’s telemedicine activities.

Roche to Pay $1.9B for Flatiron Health

Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company Roche has agreed to pay $1.9 billion to buy New York-based Flatiron Health Inc., which has both an oncology EHR and data analytics platform.

Financial Exec Survey: Interoperability Key Obstacle to Value-Based Payment Models

Momentum continues to grow for value-based care as nearly three-quarters of healthcare executives report their organizations have achieved positive financial results from value-based payment programs, to date, according to a new study from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).