Apple (AAPL) could surprise the world and make a move into the healthcare space by acquiring athenahealth (ATHN) , Citi analyst Garen Sarafian suggested on Thursday.

Following a CNBC report that said Apple was working to transform its iPhone into a "centralized" manager of patient health, Sarafian offered up athena as a "well-suited candidate" that could help Apple on that mission.

Athena, the analyst argued, would "accelerate" Apple's efforts for interoperability, offer it instant access to nearly one-half of U.S. physicians, represent a "cultural" fit, and assist in centralizing medical data.

"Apple offers 1+ billion iPhone users, but currently has limited access to clinical systems that capture data in hospitals & physician offices," Sarafian noted. "We view athena as a 'disruptor', where Apple's support would likely accelerate its own current efforts."

Lastly, Sarafian argued that Apple represents one of the few firms athenahealth CEO Jonathon Bush is likely to consider. 

"Bush is passionate about making a difference in healthcare including bringing it tech'ly into the 21st century, where we think Apple would be one of few homes for the firm he'd consider," Sarafian wrote.

Apple shares fell 0.6% to $144.29 at Thursday's close. Athenahealth's stock price decreased 0.8% to $141.69.

What's Hot on TheStreet

Beware Tesla fanboys: Tesla (TSLA) burning money, but shareholders are the likely ones to blister and feel the pain. The standard 90-day corporate equity lockup period for Tesla, following its $402.5 million stock sale of March 16, ends Thursday TheStreet reports. As a result, Tesla will be free to conduct another stock offering as soon as Thursday, which is a real possibility given the electric car company's debt situation, partly due to its Solar City investment, and need for additional cash. Any new issuance the company may seek would likely need to take place before July, which is when Tesla issues its quarterly report on car sales. Alternatively, an offering could come in late August after Tesla issues its quarterly financial report.

Shares could start to come under pressure.

Mining stocks get whipped: Global mining stocks found themselves in a hole Thursday TheStreet reports, after South Africa's government said that at least 30% of domestic mining assets should be black-owned even if previous black owners sell their stakes. South African-exposed mining companies fell sharply in the wake of the announcement. London-listed Anglo American plc (AAUKF) tumbled 4.4% to 1,013 pence ($23.87) a share, South32 Ltd fell 4% to 158 pence, BHP Billiton plc (BHP) was down 2% to 1,155 pence, Rio Tinto (RIO) fell 2% to 3,079 pence and Glencore plc (GLNCY) fell 2.6% to 279.2 pence. South African gold producers were hit even harder. Sibanye Gold Ltd. (SBGLF) plummeted 6.7% to 1,562 South African rand ($121.38) and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (AU) fell 4.8% to 14,015 rand.

Amazon eyes a new prize: Amazon (AMZN) may be preparing a deal to buy Slack Technologies in a deal that could value the messaging startup group at more than $9 billion, TheStreet points out. With Microsoft's (MSFT) deal for LinkedIn being well-received, this deal seems logical for an Amazon that is aggressively expanding into the cloud.

Apple is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL? Learn more now.

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More Trending News on TheStreet: 

Tim Cook Isn't Worried About Apple Critics

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