Apple acquires asthma monitoring startup Tueo Health

By Dave Muoio
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The small respiratory health company was the original owner of a passive health monitoring patent obtained by Apple earlier this month.

This month’s news that Apple had picked up the patent rights for a passive health monitoring system from startup Tueo Health does not appear to the only business occurring between the two companies. On Friday, CNBC reported that the consumer tech company had also outright acquired the small respiratory health company for an undisclosed sum.

Tueo Health’s website was pulled down at some point late last year, and now displays a “Domain Not Claimed” message from website hosting service Squarespace. CNBC also notes that Bronwyn Harris, CEO and cofounder, and Anura Patil, COO, both updated their LinkedIn profiles late last year to name Apple as their current employer.

These signs would point to a closing sometime during the latter months of 2018, although its exact timing and purchase price have not been made available.

MobiHealthNews has reached out to Apple for further comment and will update this story with any response. The company declined CNBC’s request for comment.

Founded in 2015, Tueo Health pitched a digital tool that helps parents monitor the symptoms, environment and treatment of their asthmatic children. According to an archived version of its webpage, the company’s approach involved an app paired with a sensor that can collect relevant data, alert users of sudden changes in condition and facilitate a consultation with a live “Tueo Health asthma educator.” The startup raised $1.1 million in seed funding back in 2017 when it was enrolled in the Launchpad Digital Health accelerator program.

“Parents of children with asthma know that managing treatment can be an uphill battle. At Tueo Health, we’ve built a digital tool that understands your child’s daily hurdles inside and out,” the company wrote on its website. “Our goal is simple: to help all children with asthma achieve a better quality of life with more symptom-free days.”

WHY IT MATTERS

It’s little secret that Apple is expanding its business with tools to help consumers monitor and manage their health, and has previously acquired companies like sleep health startup Beddit to this end.

But aside from replicating Tueo’s original service within the Apple ecosystem, the Tueo patent Apple claimed also outlines an alternative path the company could take. This strategy would involve a system that passively tracks the user’s health without using an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch’s sensors. Diagrams included in the patent suggest that such sensors could be deployed either underneath the user’s mattress or pillow.

WHAT’S THE TREND

Apple’s health moves within the last quarter alone include the rollout of the Apple Watch Series 4’s ECG functionality to Hong Kong and 19 European countries, the release of the Apple Heart Study’s findings, and the continued adoption of its personal health records platform by the Department of Veterans Affairs and others. What’s more, the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference is just around the corner and rumored to highlight new support for hearing aids, hearing health, women’s health and medication adherence reminders.