Apple brings on former Google exec to lead iPhone healthcare projects

Yoky Matsuoka

Apple ($AAPL) has been taking a deeper dive into med tech, and now, it's bringing on new talent to give its efforts a boost. The company is hiring a former Google ($GOOG) exec and robotics expert to lead some of its healthcare initiatives on the iPhone.

Yoky Matsuoka, one of the co-founders of Google's X lab and former head of technology at home sensor company Nest, will work with Apple COO Jeff Williams to flesh out its health projects, Fortune reports. Matsuoka will be charged with developing apps for the tech giant's HealthKit, ResearchKit for medical studies and its CareKit for people looking to improve their medical care.

Matsuoka brings an extensive resume to the table. She spent a decade in academia at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and the University of Washington in Seattle as a professor of robotics, Fortune points out. Matsuoka also won a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" for her neurobiotics work, which uses tech to help disabled individuals and stroke victims regain mobility.

When Google bought Nest in 2014, Matsuoka said she would leave the company and go to Twitter ($TWTR). But she changed course after developing an undisclosed illness, Matsuoka wrote in a blog post on Medium last May.

Matsuoka will have her hands full in her new role at Apple. The company is charging ahead with healthcare, focusing on its ResearchKit, HealthKit and CareKit to drive growth.

Apple's CareKit--Courtesy of Apple

Last year, Apple said that three top U.S. academic medical centers, including Duke Medicine, would use its ResearchKit to collect data for new clinical studies on autism, epilepsy and melanoma. In March, the company launched CareKit, its healthcare tracking system.

The product includes modules that allow individuals to track drug adherence and motion and share that information with doctors or family members. CareKit also recently launched four iPhone apps on CareKit, one of which tracks glucose, food, insulin and activity in diabetics.

Healthcare will likely play an increasingly large role in Apple's future success, especially in light of declining iPhone sales. The company sold 16% fewer of its product in Q2 2016 compared to the same quarter last year. More widespread adoption of ResearchKit, HealthKit and CareKit could help turn these numbers around.

- read the Fortune story
- here's the Medium blog post