In September 2009 one of the big mobile health stories centered on rumors about Apple’s partnership with Epic Systems to help the electronic medical records company create an iPhone-accessible (and ultimately iPad-accesible) EMR. Since then Epic has launched Haiku for the iPhone and Canto for the iPad, but has ignored other platforms.
Meanwhile, another health technology startup, Myca, which also has close ties to Apple, has outfitted Apple’s Cupertino clinic, Apple Wellness, with its platform Hello Health. Hello Health allows patients to visit with physicians right from their desks via real-time online video chats, text messages, email and more. Hello Health offers a number of features — Fast Company magazine once called it the “Facebook of healthcare”.
At a recent health design event in Boston, Myca’s CEO Nat Findlay mentioned that both Qualcomm and Apple have been using Hello Health in their on-site clinics. Findlay shared a couple of videos of healthcare providers using the Hello Health platform, which included Apple Wellness’ Dr. Martin Yee. Many of the promo videos include shots of physicians accessing Hello Health’s features from their smartphones.
Myca’s website also features a mention of Apple: “Myca is supporting South Bay Sports and Preventive Medicine on-site and online services at Apple’s corporate campus in Cupertino.” The image above and to the right is from one of the videos that Findlay showed at the health design event — it shows a patient interacting with a physician via the Hello Health video chat feature (watch the video here).
In his Hello Health profile on the company’s site, Apple’s Dr. Martin Yee explains that “this online platform provides a clear path toward provision of healthcare as a team, including doctors, other providers, and patients.” Yee also has a somewhat forward-looking view of his role as a physician: “I also consider myself somewhat of an interpreter, distilling the complex world of medicine down to its basics, so that anyone can understand the problem or potential problem and particpate in their own healthcare.”
While Yee’s profile stresses preventive medicine, his practice offers other services including primary care, weight loss, travel medicine, physical therapy, and hospital medicine.
Yee conducts virtual visits including live video chat and instant messaging with his patients, but he writes that these “may not be appropriate in some situations and are only for established patients.” An in-office visit is typically required for first timers. He also explains that “emails should only be used for routine communications and should not be used for urgent matters and questions that require prompt medical attention.”
Qualcomm has been much more vocal about its use of Myca’s Hello Health platform at its on-site clinic. While the online visits are more convenient for Qualcomm employees, the company has also found them to be much more cost effective since it reduces absenteeism due to off-site physician visits.