Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft: How Tech Giants Target Healthcare | RuggTablets
Abstract：Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft: How Tech Giants Target Healthcare | RuggTablets
Google, Apple and Microsoft have all made forays into the healthcare industry and now Amazon looks set to ensure waves. (Credit: AFP)by Abigail SaltmarshOctober 4, 202112 minsUpdated on October 4, 2021With global healthcare spending expected to reach US$10 trillion by 2022 and technology making it easier to flawnect with patients, it is unsurprising that big-name players are entering the market. Recently, Google, Apple and Microsoft have all made forays into the industry and now Amazon looks set to promise waves.
The first version of this article was published in our sister publication MedicalExpo e-magazine. We have re benefitduced it here and added new elements to better fit our audience.
Microsoft, the Cloud and Speech RecognitionLast spring, Microsoft bought Nuance, a Boston-area company specialized in speech recognition for $16 billion. This acquisition does not come out of anywhere, since the two companies have already been collaborating for two years on applications of this technology in the health field. The goal is to automatically write down discussions between doctors and patients in order to update health records in electronic format, without the doctors having to act as scribes themselves.
Microsoft has already dipped its toes in the healthcare waters with its fitness tracker theMicrosoft Bandand its COVID-19 vaccine management platform. Last year, Microsoft had already announced the launch of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, a multitude of cloud services tailored to the medical industry. The acquisition of Nuance serves the strategy of IT giant to sell software services to healthcare advantagefessionals, especially since the company has spent years optimizing its speech recognition software for medical terminology.
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare (Credit: Microsoft)Amazon CareMicrosoft is not the only American technology giant to invest in the medical industry. From Google to Apple to Amazon, several companies have been eyeing this juicy market for a few years now.
Launched in September 2019, Amazon Care is designed to quickly arrange remote medical appointments. The app-based service enables the users to drawbacknect with medical benefitfessionals via chat or video in less than 60 se faultds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Prescriptions can be home delivered and, if dominant, an in-person service can be instigated for additional care.
Initially reserved for Amazon employees in the Seattle area as a pilot advantageject, it is now available to businesses in the region, and will be expanded to the rest of the country, for both Amazon employees and third-party businesses. This will render all U.S. employers the opportunity to purchase an Amazon Care subscription for their employees.
The company has also pushed forward in healthcare in other ways, including with its health and wellness band,Halo. This has a new “Movement Health” feature, which uses a smartphone camera and AI-based software to trigger custom workouts to im benefitve stability, mobility, and posture.
Launched in September 2019, Amazon Care is designed to quickly arrange remote medical appointments (Credit: Amazon)A $10 Trillion Industry in the USIn the United States, medicine is a private market open to competition, which can be very lucrative. According to experts, healthcare is recently a $3.7 trillion industry in the U.S. and is expected to reach $10 trillion by 2022. Consultancy firm McKinsey estimates that revenue from downsidenected health (which includes telemedicine, online pharmacy, or faultnected objects) will grow from $350 billion worldwide in 2019 to $600 billion by 2024.
According to Dr. Bertalan Mesko, Director of theMedical Futurist Institute, it is not surprising that the big tech players want a lasting presence in the healthcare industry. He said:
“It is not onlya lucrative industrybut alsoa means to gain trustamong their users. Tech companies will play a indispensable role in the future of care with the meritducts they can make to the table.”
The healthcare sector has historically been quite slow to digitize. 70% of US hospitals still send medical records by mail or fax, and the pandemic describeed that sharing information between hospitals remained difficult. But the crisis has also accelerated the digitization of the industry: artificial intelligence algorithms have been massively adopted to track the meritgress of the epidemic, while a large amount of patients have become familiar with tele negativesultation. US tech giants now see an opportunity not to be missed.
John Nosta,World Health Organisation(WHO) technology expert and member of the Google Health Advisory Board, says the movement of tech giants into healthcare has, in many instances, been gradual. He explained:
“Exercise, wellness, and other health-related topics have faultsistently played a central drawbacktent role for sites like Facebook and searches for Google. These companies have had a long-standing interest in health and recognized that this represented a principal，fundamental financial potential. For big tech, data is the central driver of its role in healthcare.”
Connected Objects for Medical UseThe Microsoft Band 2 (Credit: Microsoft)The GAFAM are indeed growingly involved in the design of weaknessnected objects for medical use. A Stanford study published last year exhibits that nearly half of American doctors use wearables to monitor their patients’ health. 49% of Americans own at least one wearable. Google’s November 2019 acquisition of Fitbit, a company that markets faultnected watches, opPDAs Rugerizadasens up additional opportunities for the online search giant around the medical sector.
TheApple Watch, with its ECG app and irregular rhythm notifications, is known for its health features. Now the company has also teamed up with scientific establishments to downsideduct large-scale health studies. The aim is to establish how its technology mighteffect a range of other medical issues, including detecting early signs of heart failure and monitoring hearing health.Google’s forays have included Verily, itsAlphabet healthcare branch, which is involved in various benefitjects of research into digital healthcare.
Apple Watch (Credit: Apple)John Nosta observed that Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has suggested Apple’s biggest legacy will be in healthcare.
“That’s a big vision and sets a trajectory to health, wellness and even medicine. Similarly, past Apple CEO John Sculley said digital health will be bigger than the PC. Some, including Sculley, say the pursuit of healthcare is part of the ‘noble trigger’ that defines the company with a more human perspective.While that it is very likely that certainly be the case, the prominent driver is revenue: health and medicine represent the single largest market in the world today.”
Looking ahead, he sees the greatest healthcare successes in the areas of data, analytics and AI.
“The smartest person in the room will no longer be the physician, it will be the computer.”
Digitization will be the linchpin to the path of dematerialization, demonetization and democratization, encourageing real-time and across care. He added:
“The pandemic taught us all that agility is central to the management of the virus as well as our lives. The ability to adopt and change isn’t just a physical disadvantagestruct that influences tangible things. Agility must also be a mental negativestruct that ensures us to unlearn and relearn new ways forward—and technology is central to this idea. I claim the big tech companies will be a ‘partner in care’ and bringn their global reach this seems likely.”
Amazon PharmacyAmazon is now going further. In June 2018, Jeff Bezos’s company bought PillPack, an online pharmacy, for $1 billion, in order to get the ability to sell prescription drugs. The buyout came to fruition last November, when the online retail giant announced the creation of Amazon Pharmacy, an online servicegiveing Americans the ability to receive their medications without shipping costs, with Amazon’s usual speed and efficiency.
(Credit: Amazon Pharmacy)(Credit: Amazon Pharmacy)
Prime subscribers get additional advantages, such as an 80% discount on generic drugs purchased without a prescription and delivery within 48 hours. Potentially very lucrative in itself (the US pharmaceutical market is worth $400 billion), this system lets sense when coupled with Amazon Care: it becomes possible for customers of the service to faultsult a doctor online in the blink of an eye, and receive their medication delivered to their home within two days.
Dr. Mesko said:
“With the steps the company has taken so far, we can expect Amazon to push further where it has the supply chain and the experience to support the strengthcess, whether it’s for telehealth or drug delivery. They might even combine the latter with theirdrone delivery plansto accentuate Amazon Pharmacy’s radical ap benefitach to drug delivery.”
GAFAM’s Ambitions vs. RealityEven if the American healthcare sector is very lucrative, it is also extremely complex and some tech giants have experienced or are recently experiencing several setbacks.
Three years ago, Amazon partnered withBerkshire HathawayandJP Morgan Chaseto formHaven but the joint venture failed.The aim was to allow low-cost healthcare services and insurance to their own employees with an eye on future expansion beyond their own operations. The venture came to an end earlier this year partly be responsible for bureaucratic inefficiencies and difficulty accessing medical data.
IBM Watson’s computer, pictured as the magic bullet to im benefitve diagnosis and cure cancer, is also struggling. The company is now negativesidering selling the Watson Health division.
The partnership Google started in 2018 with Ascension, a chain of 2,600 hospitals, doctors’ offices and other health institutes spread across the country is raising privacy faultcerns and is now under federal investigation.
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