Apple hiring machine learning scientist for early disease detection

Apple is hiring a machine learning scientist to develop “cutting-edge” algorithms for early detection of certain diseases or disease conditions, according to a job posting published to the company’s website earlier this month.  

“There is a tremendous opportunity to improve how people manage their health. Apple is looking for exceptional data scientists to help deliver amazing experiences that will address this need in meaningful ways,” reads the posting.  

Apple did not respond to requests for more details.  

WHY IT MATTERS

First spotted by STAT health tech reporter Katie Palmer, the posting describes collaborating with software engineers and clinicians to implement strategies to collect “clinical gold-standard and observational data from users.”  

The job will also involve creating tools to cleanse and efficiently annotate data, as well as analyzing large-scale data sets to detect features that best capture the desired relationship between observation and outcome.  

“Finally, you will design and develop ML models with the goal of deploying these models onto the mobile device,” reads the posting. Proficiency in deep learning and distributed computing systems is listed as a plus.  

The opportunity represents yet another foray from big tech into the health sphere. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it had awarded more than 180 grants through the AI for Health program it launched back in early 2020.  

Microsoft says the goal of the new grants is to further accelerate medical research, increase global health insights, address health equity and build out new research capabilities.  

“Our grantees inspire and motivate us to continue our commitment and support against some of the world’s most complex health problems,” wrote Microsoft Chief Data Analytics Officer John Kahan in a blog post.  

THE LARGER TREND

Although Apple did not offer insight into where the data might be sourced for its new machine learning work, or how it might be used, the health-tracking features on Apple devices could offer clues for the future.  

In 2019, Apple announced that it would embark on three Apple Watch health studies in partnership with major healthcare and academic organizations. The results of one of these studies were published earlier this month, finding similar period symptoms across demographics.

Apple also launched a new sleep-tracking feature and an abnormal pulse feature, although the latter was found to drive unnecessary healthcare visits.

ON THE RECORD

“At Apple, great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly,” the job posting reads. “If you are a self-motivated, accountable, and upbeat individual who is not afraid of challenges, we are looking for you.”

 

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: kjercich@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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