Apple has hired Dr. Sumbul Desai, formerly executive director of Stanford Medicine’s Center for Digital Health, as part of its ongoing work into mobile wellness and health technology.
Dr. Desai will work part-time in a senior role on Apple’s health team, but will continue to see patients at Stanford.
At Stanford, Desai helped establish the strategy for the university’s ClickWell Care virtual primary care clinic, which resulted in 55 to 60 percent of 4,000 clinic visits being carried out virtually.
She has also been involved with a Stanford program, offering faculty members and instructors up to 1,000 Apple Watches and $10,000 in funding to investigate how Apple’s wearable device can be used in healthcare.
“This seed grant program is designed to stimulate and support creative uses of the Apple Watch to address important issues in healthcare,” the Center for Digital Health’s website notes. “We are particularly interested in high impact projects that will positively influence the selected study population and/or clinical workflow.”
Building the ultimate health team
Apple has been hiring a range of medical experts related to its various health ambitions. Many of these researchers have come from top positions at U.S. universities. For example, late last year Apple hired Dr. Ricky Bloomfield, previously director of Mobile Strategy at Duke University.
Speaking with Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook made clear that health assessment is very much a goal for the Apple Watch. “The holy grail of the watch is being able to monitor more and more of what’s going on in your body. If you could have a device that knew so much about you, it would be incredible, and would extend life and extend quality.”
It seems like Apple’s busy building a team that will help it do exactly that!