How Apple’s Recent ‘Gliimpse’ Acquisition Is Already Reshaping the Healthcare Industry

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Stating that the firm’s utmost vision is to create a way for the “personalized and shareable medical records of all 317,000,000 Americans” to be accessible at any time, Fast Company revealed last week that Apple has acquired Gliimpse — a little known firm whose primary objective, aside from specializing in the digitization of medical records, is to make those records easily accessible by patients and doctors at their discretion.

According to the report, Apple’s acquisition of Gliimpse actually went through under the radar earlier this year; however, as is par for the course when Apple acquires new entities, the Cupertino-company offered up a rather mum statement to that effect when questioned about the details of the acquisition: you know, the standard “non-denial” statement, essentially alleging that Apple “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Fair game, we’d say. But then, the question remains: what on Earth could the electronic digitizing of medical records possibly be of interest to Apple?

Well, the answer to that may rest in the words of Gliimpse co-founder, Anil Sethi, who reported founding the firm in part due to his frustration with the incompatibility between existing Electronic Health Record protocols.

“As a consumer of healthcare, I leave behind a bread-crumb-trail of medical info wherever I’ve been seen. But, I’m unable to easily access or share my own data. Obamacare is one of several forcing functions federally mandating physicians and hospitals give us our data: meds, labs, allergies…you get the idea. However, there’s no single Electronic Health Record that all physicians use, sigh. Worse, there isn’t even a common file format across a 1000+ systems,” according to Sethi.

Apple has for long been a proponent of physical fitness, health, wellness, and even the healthcare system as we know it today. With recent advancements in HealthKit, ResearchKit, and Apple’s all-new CareKit, the Cupertino-company is doing one heck of a job carrying the baton that was originally handed down by the company’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, due to his personal experiences dealing with the conventional healthcare system.

While no imminent or tentative plans can be inferred of the acquisition at this point, it seems fitting, to say the least, that Apple and Gliimpse would converge with the hope of joining forces like they are. Both companies, for instance, are equally passionate about the safety and security of personal data.

“Your data is your data. We don’t see it. Gliimpse technology gathers your records, processes the data and continues to build your Gliimpse. Safe, secure, private,” according to Sethi. “We store and encrypt your personally identifiable data and health data separately and your data is encrypted separately from other users. Everything is encrypted with a pair 256 bit PKI keys in motion and in storage.”

For those with an extra keen eye, however, even the faintest glimpses of what may be in store for Apple’s healthcare future can already be seen in iOS 10.

The forthcoming update, for instance, will reportedly feature a newly designed HealthKit platform — from which users will be able to store and access a comprehensive collection of their electronic health records directly from iOS 10’s Health App.