Many of the hires have been under the radar, according to the report, which estimates the company has more than 40 and up to 50 doctors on its roster.
The move suggests that Apple may be looking to integrate more health technologies into its platforms, and that it could be looking to branch out into applications for people with specific serious medical conditions and not focus as much on general wellness, CNBC reports.
The medical professionals are influential, according to the report, and are scattered across a number of teams to guide strategy as the tech giant continues to develop for the healthcare market.
Apple hired orthopedic surgeon Sharat Kusuma to manage its partnership with Zimmer Biomet (NYSE:ZBH) as the company explores whether its tech platform can help patients recover from hip and knee surgeries, according to CNBC.
The hires may also help the company deflect criticism, such as the scathing New York Times article criticizing the company’s electrocardiogram-equipped next-gen Apple Watch, and win over the medical community, according to the report.
While many of the doctors the company has hired are working on the Apple Watch, others are working with the health records group and some are employed to treat employees at the company’s headquarters, according to CNBC.
Many of the doctors also have connections to execs at the company, the report indicates. Former Stanford Medicine doctor Sumbul Desai works closely with Apple COO Jeff Williams, according to the report, while Dr. Bud Tribble is a software VP at the tech giant and an original member of the Macintosh design team.
Other notable medical members include family medicine doctor Mike Evans and anesthesiologist Michael O’Reilly, who’s been at the Cupertino, Calif.-based company for six years, CNBC said.
Many of the doctors employed by Apple are still seeing patients, according to the report, which CNBC theorizes could “give Apple an edge by emphasizing the patient experience.”
In November, an atrial fibrillation screening study using Apple’s next-gen Apple Watch enrolled 400,000 subjects, making it the largest study of its kind to date.