IBM, Apple to release healthcare enterprise app in Q1

By Jonah Comstock
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Apple and IBM's "Retention" app for insurers. Apple and IBM's "Retention" app for insurers.

Although the IBM-Apple partnership for enterprise mobility has yet to make a healthcare-focused app public, one is coming up in the first quarter of 2015, and the two companies are still planning to make healthcare a focus of their sales pitch, according to a job posting that went up recently, first spotted .

Apple is hiring a handful of IBM Business Development Executives in different parts of the country and for different verticals. The "Healthcare and Retail" executive will be based out of Los Angeles or Seattle and will act as the resident expert on the partnership for Apple's and IBM's enterprise sales teams, and as a liaison between sales teams for the two companies.

The lists a wide range of responsibilities for the executives, related to meeting sales goals, managing the partnership, and attending regional roadshows and industry events as a spokesperson for the partnership. It also makes it clear that Apple sees this partnership as part of a longterm strategy that may change over time.

"[T]he BDE will be accountable to having an ear-on-the-ground and pulse on the Apple and IBM business in the geography," the job posting reads. "As the partnership matures, we will go through growing pains and will have numerous learning opportunities as we actively seek to capture feedback from customers about the partnership (what’s working, what’s not) and also priceless feedback from both Apple and IBM field personnel on their perspective on the partnership." 

When Apple announced the partnership in July it listed healthcare as one vertical where it would release new enterprise apps for iPhone and iPad. But the the company rolled out in December didn't include any healthcare apps (though there was one app, Retention, aimed at insurers). In a recent investor call, however, Apple CEO Tim Cook said healthcare apps will be in the next batch, due out this quarter.

"Another 12 apps will be released this quarter, including three new industries: healthcare, energy and utilities, and industrial products," Cook said according to . "This will bring us to a total of 22 apps, and we’re on track to have over 100 by the end of 2015. In just over a month, more than a dozen enterprise customers have signed on as foundation clients to transform their companies with iPhone, iPad and IBM MobileFirst solutions, including Miami Dade County, the seventh largest county in the United States by population, and American Eagle Outfitters, which operates more than 1,000 retail stores and ships to over 80 countries worldwide."

On the call, Cook also highlighted Apple HealthKit and offered a tidbit of data on its traction.

"There has also been incredible interest in HealthKit with over 600 developers now integrating it into their apps," he said. "Consumers can now choose to securely share their health and wellness metrics with these apps and this has led to some great, new and innovative experiences in fitness and wellness, food and nutrition and healthcare. For example, with apps such as an American Well, users can securely share data such as blood pressure, weight or activity directly with physicians, and leading hospitals such as Duke Medicine, Stanford Children and Penn Medicine are integrating data from HealthKit into their electronic medical record so that physicians can reach out to patients proactively when they see a problem that needs attention."

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