Apple employees can now access free genetic screenings

Apple has partnered with Color Genomics on a pilot program to offer free genetic screenings to all its Silicon Valley employees through AC Wellness, which are Apple’s dedicated health clinics set up near the Apple Park headquarters.

Sources say Apple’s been working with Color for several months on these free DNA tests.

Apple set up AC Wellness as a separate company in 2018. CNBC reports that AC Wellness and Color Genomics reportedly started working together on the pilot several months ago. The main goal of AC Wellness is providing primary care services exclusively to Apple employees.

The idea is to move health care at Apple’s clinics from reactive to proactive, as genetic tests can offer a window into health risks down the line. In some cases, patients can take preventative steps to reduce their likelihood of getting a disease.

Perks like free genetic testing and other advanced medical treatments are also used by companies as a way to retain talent. The report notes that unnamed medical experts have speculated that the Cupertino technology giant could also take advantage of its on-site clinics to quietly test new products, ideas or initiatives without risking leaks.

Apple, of course, has been deeply invested in health for the past few years with things like Apple Watch, the Health app, heart-focused studies, clinical research apps and more. As an example, Apple in March 2016 tapped 23andMe to bring genetic data into its ResearchKit software framework that helps academic researchers use the iPhone for medical studies.

According to the official AC Wellness website, they currently operate several medical centers on the Apple Park campus and in Santa Clara. Its clinicians and health coaches treat only Apple employees and their dependents.

“The administrative part of the business, which orders supplies and manages the clinical software, is run through a separate legal subsidiary of Apple to comply with regulations that ensure that employers don’t have direct access to employees’ most sensitive health information,” according to CNBC.

Image courtesy World of Weird Things