Apple’s director of health leaving company to form his own medical records startup

Anil Sethi with his late sister Tania, the inspiration for his new startup

Apple’s work in the health industry has been well reported thus far, but CNBC reports today that the person running Apple’s health efforts is leaving the company. Anil Sethi was originally named director of the health team last year, when Apple acquired his medical record startup Gliimpse

Prior to his announcement that he would be leaving Apple, Sethi had been on an extended leave of absence to care for his sister, Tania, who passed away from cancer in September. The leave of absence, Sethi told CNBC, was personally granted by Apple COO Jeff Williams.

On his decision to leave Apple, Sethi says he is fulfilling a promise he made to his sister in her final days to improve cancer care for patients. He hopes to do that with his new startup, Ciitizen. The company will focus on providing a better experience by obtaining patient records and getting them to the appropriate doctors.

He since decided not to rejoin the Apple health team and instead is starting a new company, dubbed Ciitizen, which is focused on making it easier for people like Tania to get their information — whether it’s about genomes, labs, ethical wills or advanced directives — and share it with researchers on request. He describes it as “health data as a palliative.”

While it’s been reported that Apple wants to make the iPhone a “one-stop shop” for medical records, Sethi says he will focus on “depth rather than breadth.” He explains that while Apple can help more than 1 billion people, it will do so in ways that aren’t as deep as what his startup will build.

Sethi was sure to note, however, that Apple executives are extremely committed to health care and that he hopes to meet his former colleagues “in the middle” at some point in the future.

Apple originally acquired Sethi’s startup Gliimpse back in August of 2016 for an undisclosed sum. The company explained that its goal was to let users collect their own medical records and share them securely with whomever they trust.

Sethi is expected to formally announce his new startup later today in San Francisco.

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