The future of healthcare could soon look very different than it does today as Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM, and Microsoft disrupt health and medicine.
The world’s largest tech companies are leading various health initiatives, which include basic scientific research, research investments in the healthcare application process, developing innovative health insurance models, creating new clinics, and enabling the capture and analysis of personal health data via interactive devices.
Last year, Microsoft and China’s Tencent captured more than 70% of all startup investment deals made in digital health. Meanwhile, Amazon made its health strategy more clear.
Haven—Amazon’s joint health insurance venture with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway—hired 50 people and will roll out health plans to its employees in 2020. Amazon also made a $2 million investment in Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to improve patient care and efficiency in operating and emergency rooms with its AWS cloud and A.I. tools. Its Alexa voice assistant was deemed HIPAA compliant last year—no small feat—which paves the way for hospital and pharmaceutical partnerships. Amazon’s PillPack integrates its online pharmacy with some of the biggest insurance providers in America. Amazon Care—a hybrid in-person healthcare system and virtual clinic where Amazon employees get live, in-app visits from doctors and nurses—has acquired or partnered with numerous healthcare providers for A.I. research.
Google is equally aggressive about healthcare. About 7% of the searches performed on Google are health and medicine related. In 2019, Google’s Project Nightingale teamed up with Ascension, one of the largest health-care systems in the U.S., to mine and analyze personal health data across 21 states. Google and Alphabet-owned Verily worked on A.I. and computer vision solutions for medical imaging analysis. Google’s electronic health record voice assistant Suki became a helpful resource for some doctors. Don’t forget that Google acquired Fitbit, as well.
Apple continued its move into electronic health records, upgrading its Health App to include personal data as part of a massive partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Within Apple’s employee health clinics, patients get free genetic screenings courtesy of the company’s partnership with genetic testing startup Color. Apple watches and earbuds are also being oriented for integration within its healthcare ecosystem.
Big tech companies are now competing to recruit top medical talent, to establish research partnerships, and, of course, to get access to our data. They each have ambitious health strategies that we will see unfold in the coming years.
Healthcare is a $3 trillion market, and with its inflated pricing and outdated systems, it is particularly ripe for disruption.
Alibaba, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Baidu, Berkshire Hathaway, Google, IBM, JPMorgan, Microsoft, Tencent, healthcare providers, hospitals, and government agencies.
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