Apple made a big splash in health care circles this past week when it announced that the company is entering the personal health record space with Apple Health, a new feature that will interface with electronic health records at a dozen hospitals.
For the past two years, Apple has been making under-the-radar moves to bolster its health care efforts, starting with its 2016 acquisition of a personal health record start-up called Gliimpse Health.
In the wake of the announcement, my Twitter lit up with many proclamations that Apple's moves would bolster consumer engagement in health care. But I noticed an equal number of skeptics who argued that this time would be no different than a decade ago when technology players like Microsoft and Google tried, and struggled, to push this personal health record idea forward.
As you can see from my exchange with a fellow venture capitalist, I hold the view that Apple's entry into the space could be a game-changed for the industry. And I don't say that lightly. In fact, I believe that when we look back on this moment a decade from now, it will be viewed as a landmark day in the history of this still-nascent health care IT market.
So why is this time different?
The health-technology landscape has dramatically changed
Ten years ago, when Microsoft and Google were battling to make the personal health record idea resonate with consumers, much of the basic infrastructure needed to spur adoption did not exist. In 2007, less than a third of all doctors and other health care providers used an electronic medical record.