Apple hiring efforts point to medical tech integration

The company reportedly has hired at least six biomedical experts and other medical professionals as interest in health tech surges.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Apple has secretly been bolstering its employee base with several medical professionals, according to a new report.

The technology pacesetter has been quietly hiring a medical team made up of senior medical technology executives who previously worked in the biotech field, Reuters is reporting, citing LinkedIn pages and sources who claim to have knowledge of the company's efforts. Most of the hires have some expertise in medical sensor technology, which could allow for Apple products to analyze everything from blood-sugar levels to heart rate.

Health, fitness, and medical care have caught the eye of major technology companies. Samsung, for example, has built several health-related features into its Galaxy S5, and many wearable technology devices today have similar elements. Samsung is even planning an event later this month to talk about health.

Apple is believed to be working on some sort of wearable device, to be unveiled this year, that would use sensors and other technology to track health. Although it was initially believed that Apple's long-awaited iWatch would launch this year, it seems a bit more likely now that Apple will instead launch a "smartband" in partnership with Nike that will deliver those features.

According to Reuters, Apple might go further than that. The news service spoke with a "mobile health executive," who said that Apple could be planning to build out a full health services platform, delivering all kinds of health-related apps to track and monitor a person's health.

Apple plans to achieve these goals, according to Reuters, by enlisting some of the top experts in the bio medical field. The company has already brought on Chief Medical Officer Michael O'Reilly from Masimo Corp, a firm that specializes in non-invasive oxygen-saturation detection, called pulse oximetry. Apple has also hired Ravi Narasimhan, who previously worked as vice president for Vital Connect, which provides full tracking information on standard human vitals, such as heart rate.

Rumors have been swirling for months, suggesting that Apple is getting serious about making a splash in the health field, and this latest report appears to make that point all the more. So far, however, Apple hasn't confirmed any plans, so it's tough to say whether the company will launch any health-related features or devices this year.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the Reuters report. We will update this story when we have more information.