Apple has hired a Canadian doctor from a Toronto teaching hospital for an unspecified role. Dr Mike Evans runs what he calls a ‘mini med school’ YouTube channel known as DocMikeEvans, which aims to better educate the public about health matters.

“I’m very excited for Dr. Mike that he will be able to use his multiple talents to impact an even bigger worldwide audience,” said Dr. Arthur S. Slutsky, vice-president of research at St. Michael’s Hospital. “I’m looking forward to seeing his new innovations and having St. Mike’s collaborate with him in his new role.”

“Dr. Mike” isn’t allowed to say much about his new role, other than that he will be working on health-care innovation worldwide.

One reason Apple would be interested in him is no secret, however …

Dr Evans has in the past talked about the possibility of ‘prescribing’ apps to patients to help doctors reach an accurate diagnosis.

He gives the hypothetical example of a patient with high blood pressure who he might see about four times a year to check his or her blood pressure in the clinic. About a quarter of the time the blood pressure reading is wrong, either because the doctor’s measurement was off or the patient was nervous or had just consumed a large caffeine-fueled latte. In the future, Dr. Evans said, he might prescribe an app that would monitor the patient’s blood pressure remotely with a watch or some other wearable.

He also believes apps could play a valuable role in reminding patients to take their meds, and in nudging them toward a healthier diet.

“We see people a few days a year, the phone and the watch see them every day,” he said. “There is so much opportunity here in data visualization, feedback, education, messaging and nudging positive behaviours.”

Another example given was using an Apple Watch to measure tremors in Parkinson’s patients.

CBC reports that Evans had turned down a previous approach by Apple. The fact that the company persisted suggests that it may be interested in the combination of his clinical interest in health apps alongside the communication skills demonstrated in his YouTube videos. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fronting some future health app initiatives.

Apple has of course been moving increasingly into the health and fitness area. Initiatives range from the new Apple Watch Series 2 bringing built-in GPS and better waterproofing to make the wearable more suitable for fitness monitoring through to creating universal health records accessible by patients.

Via Patently Apple

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