Apple could have as many 50 medical doctors on staff throughout the company as it continues to build its health expertise, as it searches for ways to build on the health-related technologies in their iPhone and Apple Watch devices.
The hires could help Apple win over doctors — potentially its harshest critics — as it seeks to develop and integrate health technologies into the Apple Watch, iPad and iPhone. It also suggests that Apple will build applications that can help people with serious medical problems, and not just cater to the “worried well,” as many have speculated.
These hires are not just for show, according to people familiar with the doctors and their roles. Many haven’t disclosed their role at Apple at all, which is commonplace at a company that prides itself on secrecy. One example is Stanford pediatrician Rajiv Kumar, who has worked there for several years. CNBC was able to locate 20 physicians at Apple via LinkedIn searches and sources familiar, and other people said as many as 50 doctors work there. Apple has more than 130,000 employees globally.
The company hired an orthopedic surgeon, Sharat Kusuma, to manage its partnership with medical device maker Zimmer Biomet to study whether Apple technology can help patients recover from knee and hip replacement surgeries. Kusuma’s LinkedIn profile states that he’s leading that particular team.
The Cupertino firm’s Apple Watch division is said to have doctors embedded doctors embedded in several teams. Other are said to be working on projects such as a health records project, and an internal “AC Wellness” primary care group for workers.