Apple’s medical team for iWatch now includes former Masimo CMO

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 27, 2014        

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Michael OReillyLast week MobiHealthNews reported that one of Apple’s most recent hires — assumedly for its rumored iWatch team — Nancy Dougherty, was a former employee at high profile company Proteus Digital Health.

Following that story, we received a tip that Apple has also hired Michael O’Reilly, the former chief medical officer of Masimo Corporation, which specializes in pulse oximeters. At the very end of 2012 Masimo commercially launched an iPhone-enabled pulse oximeter called the iSpO2. The company was not seeking FDA clearance for the product since it says it’s intended for mountain climbers and airplane pilots.

Michael O’Reilly MD is an anesthesiologist who lists teaching gigs at University of Michigan and University of California at Irvine on his LinkedIn profile, which also notes his employment at Masimo Corporation ended in July 2013. He held the position of Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Medical Affairs. No mention of Apple as a current employer.

Here’s a quick roundup of other hires Apple has reportedly made in the past year or two that point to an iWatch with health, fitness, or medical capabilities.

Jay Blahnik — Our tipster confirms this long rumored hire too. Blahnik, a well-known fitness consultant, helped create Nike’s FuelBand with Michael Tchao, who returned to Apple in 2009 as a VP of marketing after a few years at Nike working on Nike+ and the FuelBand.

Nancy Dougherty — Dougherty was the hardware lead at transdermal medication delivery startup Sano before taking the job at Apple. Before Sano she was a senior electrical engineer and key hardware designer of Proteus Digital Health’s Bluetooth-enabled, peel-and-stick vital signs monitoring patch. Dougherty spent more than two years at Proteus from October 2010 to late 2012.

Ravi Narasimhan — He served as the VP of research and development at health sensor company Vital Connect before recently joining Apple. In 2012 MobiHealthNews reported that Vital Connect inked a deal with SecuraTrac to develop a mobile personal emergency response (mPERS) offering called SecuraFone Health, which would detect falls, changes in heart and breathing rate and other vital signs, thanks to a sensor worn on the chest or back. He also holds dozen of patents related to health sensors.

Ueyn Block, the former Director of Optics & Systems Engineering at C8 MediSensors, joined Apple last year as a technical lead of optical sensing.

Todd Whitehurst, the former Vice President of Product Development at Senseonics, joined Apple as director of hardware development. Both Whitehurst and Block’s previous experience was in glucose sensing.