Tech Giants Take Aim on Healthcare
Healthcare has historically been an outlier for technological solutions. Let’s be honest, healthcare is not sexy. It’s a complex system fraught with inefficiencies — from accessibility, to cost, and a lack of standardization. Following suit in our capitalist society, socialized medicine, a widely accepted practice in most advanced nations, is frowned upon.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) took 8 years to be put into effect and according to analysts at CNN will insure upwards of 11.4 million Americans in 2017. After a resurgence of morality and social justice, our senate may fortunately forego debating the repeal of Obamacare and keep millions of Americans insured. While the fate of many rest in the hands of the senate regarding their access to affordable healthcare, just across the hill tech leaders met this week with President Trump for a brainstorm session led by Jared Kushner — to discuss the future of technology including advanced in healthcare.
Where do companies like Apple, Google (parent Alphabet), Amazon, IBM and others fit into shaping healthcare? We have giants in the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and data storage space like Epic and Cerner but consumer facing companies have yet to really step into the spotlight.
IBM’s eggs are in primarily one basket — Watson — a supercomputer built to process massive data sets, run machine learning algorithms and spit out analyses and predictions such as presenting clinical best practices based on the most successful outcomes. An investment of $200 million from IBM will continue to grow the Watson program to empower entrepreneurs, regulators, and clinicians to continue improving healthcare delivery.
Google’s research arm, Verily Life Sciences, has focused on scientific and medical discoveries for quite some time. From Diabetes management to AI-enhanced eye scans and tackling age-related diseases, their teams and investments continue to work tirelessly at curing and treating disease.
Bezos and Amazon aim to break into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market and are poaching industry leaders to ensure regulatory needs are met prior to bringing their force to market. Soon you won’t just be able to order medical devices on Amazon, maybe prescription medicine too.
Finally, rumors of Apple’s plans to create a centralized place for consumer health data leveraging HealthKit may prove more fact than fiction with their recent acquisition of Gliimpse — a way for individuals to access, manage and share their own health record information. Data from disparate sources including patient reported, wearables and clinically entered info across systems being distilled and analyzed in one location will be revolutionary to the future of medicine and research. We’re not far away.