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Apple's healthcare division leaned on misleading data, alleges report

Apple's healthcare division leaned on misleading data, alleges report

Apple employees raised concerns that misleading data was being used to support new health products or were being fired, the insider reported. In addition, a lack of structure within the health group, along with other organizational problems, is slowing and depressing the company's ambitions to move forward in healthcare, current and former Apple employees told Insider.

Some of the concern has centered on the clinics that Apple has set up to provide healthcare to employees and on developing ways to integrate data collected from Apple devices into care. A doctor involved with the project, Will Poe, said in a resignation letter to CEO Tim Cook that he was concerned that team members were passing misleading and very compelling information to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, who oversees the company's health efforts. Former employees told Insider. Poe was concerned that team members told Williams that clinics provide "high quality" care, even though the quality of care was not being measured in a standardized way, the insider reported.

The insider reported that other employees expressed similar concerns to Cook and Williams, but the company took no action. “The company does not want help. It is completely happy with the current status quo,” a former employee told Insider.

Apple claims that parts of the Insider Story are based on "outdated" information. The company is still in the "early innings of our work in health technology," Fred Sainz, a senior director of corporate communications at Apple, said in a statement to Insider.

A Wall Street Journal report from June also outlined issues with internal health clinics and said staff were concerned with the way the data was collected and presented.

With the Apple hardware team focusing on building apps and products for consumers, not medicine, the health team is complicating the work to create more robust primary care programs through in-house clinics, Insider reported. The company began to think of the clinics and their work as a way to increase sales of the Apple Watch, and not as its own project, people familiar with the approach told Insider.

Current and past employees told Insider that there is no clear strategy for the health team and that the internal culture does not allow feedback. A doctor working with the clinic's team removed its direct report after talking about the clinic's care and pushed back Sumbul Desai, Apple's vice president of health and head of projects, in a meeting. A senior engineering program manager was fired shortly after saying in a meeting that "some people in the organization like to tell good stories over accurate representations of data," former employees told Insider.

"Any and all allegations of retaliatory behavior are thoroughly investigated and appropriate corrective action is taken," Sainz said in a statement to Insider. "All health leaders encourage employees to always do the right thing, speak up and raise questions."

The revelations come as Apple's overall culture begins to shift, with more employees speaking out about the workplace and prompting executives to take the concerns seriously. Zoe Schiffer wrote in The Verge, "The biggest wish ... is that employees want to feel heard."

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