Apple launches more health studies using Apple Watch.
Apple has hired another prominent cardiologist as it adds more medical talent to its growing team.
The company brought on David Tsay, a professor of cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center and an associate chief transformation officer, where he focused on implementing digital services. Tsay just updated his LinkedIn to note that he’s joined Apple and a person familiar said he’s just started his new role this month. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.
Tsay is the second well-known cardiologist to join Apple, following Alexis Beatty, who previously worked at the University of Washington.
Heart health is a huge area of focus for the company, both in its medical research and its hardware. The most recent Apple Watch smartwatches include features that track an irregular heart rate as well as potential abnormalities in the heart’s rhythm, via an electrocardiogram. Hiring cardiologists signals a continued interest in monitoring heart health, as well as helping people eat better and shift to more healthy lifestyles. It also brought on Heather Patrick, a prominent behavioral scientist, in the past few months, according to LinkedIn.
Bringing on medical experts is also important as the company faces skepticism from the medical community about whether its health features like the electrocardiogram will do more harm than good. Adding more doctors to its ranks suggests that the company is thinking seriously about how to communicate with, as well as form alliances, within the medical sector.
“Cardiovascular disease has been such a huge and difficult problem to tackle,” noted Jeffrey Wessler, a New York-based cardiologist and the founder of the Heartbeat heart-health clinics. “But we finally have consumer-grade tech catching up that offer a new set of solutions.”
Because of the scale of the problem — heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. — Wessler refers to technology that can help manage heart disease as the “holy grail of disease management.”
“There can’t be much larger of a target for big tech,” he said.
Tsay will work closely with the other doctors at Apple, who hail from an array of different specialties and work across teams under the various leaders. The company has scooped up dozens of doctors, including a prominent obstetrician, a pediatric endocrinologist who treats children with diabetes, and a slew of primary care physicians.
Heart health isn’t just a focus area at Apple. As Big Tech continues to explore whether it can penetrate the $3.5 trillion medical sector, cardiologists are often hired early and given senior roles. Alphabet‘s health unit Verily chose a cardiologist, Jessica Mega, as its chief medical officer. And Amazon hired Dr. Maulik Majmudar, also a cardiologist, as a resident medical expert as it moves into health.