Apple acquired a health data-focused startup called Gliimpse earlier this year, according to a new report from Fast Company confirmed by the company. The amount of the acquisition was undisclosed.
Inspired by founder Anil Sethi's experiences with his sister's cancer, Gliimpse has a mission to collect the "bread crumbs of health data" consumers create and bring them all together in one platform. By moving that process into the hands of patients, the company argues on its website, it can tackle problems that exist in promoting interoperability on the back-end.
"Thankfully, patients and individuals—like you and me—will help solve these two problems US healthcare faces: data-access and data-sharing," the company writes on its site. "How? There are no HIPAA violations when data flows from our health portals to patients. When patients control the data, the problems disappear."
The main innovation of the product is an AI engine that reads medical records (with patients' permission, accessing them via the patient portal) and breaks down and codes them into a standardized and readable language.
Ever since Apple launched its HealthKit framework in mid-2014, the company has seen enabling health data sharing as its entry point into healthcare, and Gliimpse fits right into those plans. Apple also has a history of working with EHRs, most notably Epic, to integrate HealthKit data. Gliimpse's code could help Apple products to more easily interact with hospital systems, or it could bolster safety and security for the company, as those are also major selling points of Gliimpse.
The company didn't offer details into the reasons for the acquisition.
"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," Apple said in a statement to Fast Company.
As Fast Company pointed out when it broke the news, Gliimpse is also focused on the chronic condition patient as its customer, so this could signal a move in that direction for Apple, especially considering Apple's recent hire of pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Rajiv B. Kumar, who worked with HealthKit for diabetes patients. The acquisition could also be related to rumors of a new health device from Apple.
Gliimpse was largely self-funded, with only a $1 million seed round since the company launched in 2013.