Morgan Stanley sizes up Apple's healthcare opportunity, predicts $15B to $300B by 2027

The investment bank's 54-page report includes speculations about the Cupertino giant's future.
By Jonah Comstock
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A recent report from Morgan Stanley estimates that Apple’s market opportunity in healthcare could be as high as $313 billion in 2027 — or as low as $15 billion.

The 50-page report, aimed at investors, makes the case for the various ways in which Apple could become an even more serious player in the healthcare sector, in light of trends like value-based care and the consumerization of healthcare.

“We believe the shift to consumer-centric healthcare requires empowering the consumer and changing consumer behavior,” the report states. “Many large tech platforms rely on maximizing consumer experience and engagement. As a result, they've developed a deep understanding of net promotor scores (NPS) and user conversion. We'd argue that technology companies are better equipped to influence the consumer than healthcare companies.”

Morgan Stanley sees a few areas where Apple could make healthcare a big business. One is wearables, where the company is already established as a leader. Additional sensors and features, a demographic shift toward more tech-savvy consumers, and reimbursement for health wearables could all increase the profitability of that space.

But health data is an even bigger opportunity. With Apple Health Records already in use at a number of hospitals and Apple’s uniquely strong stance on consumer data privacy, the firm predicts more and more health data will be stored in iCloud.

“If Apple becomes the patient record registry, they are in essence becoming a national HIE,” the report states. “Hospitals no longer have to pay for multiple HIE systems at a local level, but could instead directly pay a single data aggregator for access to patient records across the country. We see value in leveraging Apple's central repository across each healthcare vertical — which can create significant fee generating opportunities over time.”

Other opportunities include more payer partnerships like Apple currently has with Aetna and UnitedHealth and improving medication adherence and clinical trial enrollment for pharma.

Finally, the report mentions some possible next moves for the company, the most interesting of which are joining Haven, the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JP Morgan joint venture, or acquiring a healthcare company — either a telehealth vendor or an EHR company.

“The US and global healthcare markets are 3x and 6x the size of the global smartphone market, respectively,” the report says. “This represents a massive addressable market for Apple, which is quickly establishing itself as an agent of change. Apple's healthcare efforts to date are focused on the US healthcare system, although we see an opportunity for Apple to extend its efforts to the global healthcare market longer term.”

Consumerization of Healthcare

In April, we'll look at the consumerization of healthcare from a variety of angles, including how to treat patients as customers.

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