Tag Archives: Apple

”I like your HIV status”

Today’s news in the health data business is that Facebook is planning to enter the game.

While monetizing health data by creating health apps and communities has proven difficult for insurance companies, it won’t be a walk in the park for the other players, either.

The insurance company needs a less intimidating intermediary to inspire consumers to share their health data. Candidates for such an intermediary include Apple, Google and Facebook.

Even these companies will need to work hard to dilute consumers’ fears of their data ending up in unwanted places, whether it’s through hackers, criminals, nation-state actors – or by new business models that Apple & co will come up with in order to monetize their customers’ health data.

We can already see these new business models emerging, for example through Mayo Clinic’s announcement of their app and Apple HealthKit sharing data between them.

One of the comments to the article about Facebook summarizes the privacy challenge brilliantly: ”I like your HIV status”.

Does the failure of Aetna’s CarePass platform mean Apple’s platform won’t succeed?

Aetna, the American insurance giant, recently announced the ramping down of CarePass, their digital health data platform. Some commentators speculate this could mean that Apple’s and others’ similar platforms are not viable.

I beg to disagree.

For those not familiar with Aetna’s initiative, CarePass is an app that integrates with a host of services collecting consumers’ health data, for example the data from their activity trackers and heart rate monitors.

Social media and health data go hand in hand

People love to share the details of their life, especially when they can brag about their accomplishments.

That’s a basic characteristic of social media and something that is easy to incorporate in a health data platform: ”Today I ran 10 kilometers and burned x calories”. It’s also easy to compete in sports with your friends in social media. And it’s easy to admire or ”like” their accomplishments.

In other words, a whole lot of positive vibes can be created within such a platform.

Aetna’s challenge is that they are an insurance company. And well, insurance companies are not usually associated with events that are fun, right? Besides, there’s always the suspicion that the insurance company might be taking advantage of the data you upload in an app.

Suspicion and fun don’t mix well.

Apple just seems to be a better match with the idea of fun and achievement. Plus you can feel even better about yourself showing off your Apple-designed activity tracker.

This is why Aetna’s decision to pull the plug off CarePass is no indication of Apple not making it. Quite the contrary, I’d say it rather proves that Apple is more likely to come out as a winner in the platform game than any insurance company.

All about wellbeing, design and fun

If Apple unveils the iWatch tomorrow, they are likely to emphasize anything but potentially sharing your health data with insurance companies at some point. It’ll rather be about wellbeing, design and fun.

The same will apply to the other contenders in the platform game. The fight for the most popular health data platform will be an interesting one to observe.

One day we might see Aetna and its competitors partnering with Apple and the likes, encouraging people to lead healthy lives and charging smaller premiums from those who excercise regularly.

Eagerly waiting for tomorrow’s event.