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What Are Tech Giants' Breaking Impacts on Healthcare?

US healthcare system is imperfect, and these tech giants are putting lots of effort to change the system through tech innovations
By Andy Nguyen | EnvZone Staff
on April 12, 2019 | 5 min read
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According to The Economic Intelligence Unit, North America's spending on healthcare service is climbing up at an astounding rate and is projected to range from $3.509 to $4.175 in the period from 2017 to 2022.

The high spending could be a result of multiple aspects, but it is undeniable that the market size of the healthcare industry is expanding rapidly. So, it is not a surprise that many companies from various sectors want a piece of this profitable cake as soon as possible by investing in the healthcare sector.

And in this article, the competition is boiling every second because of the participation of tech giants, who have the technology advantages card in their hand and promise to bring the fresh new look to the US healthcare system and healthcare service which is rated so complicated and not as advanced as other developed countries throughout the world.

Related post: 5 astounding healthcare trends you need to know in 2019.

Ok, let's dive in with the tech-titan that earned the spot of the most valuable companies in the world.

Apple

Apple's main revenue-driven product is no longer the beloved iPhone anymore. The iPhone sales experienced staggering growth over the years while the sales of the smartwatch, notably the Apple Watch, experienced otherwise. Apple's wearable device is projected to be the main revenue-driven product that keeps the company alive over the next few years.

To enhance the user's experience, Apple has not only made it matter from the technology aspect but also the health aspect.

Apple has started the health initiative by integrating health tracking feature on to their devices. For example, the effort to track Parkinson's disease through the sensors in its smartwatch. Another brilliant product which can monitor your health status by its lens is iPhone X. Airpod is also projected to have the hearing testing ability as well as speech recognition tool to detect any sign of disease related to stroke.

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Last year, Apple received FDA clearance on installing EKG on the smartwatch. The FDA's consent shows that Apple is increasingly moving its focus from just being a tech company to become a more health-centric company. Also, to utilize the FDA-cleared technology, the company established a partnership with Standford Medicine to study more evident pattern on heart rhythm and put those notifications on the devices for users. Despite such advancement in health technology, physicians don't seem to keen on technology. But the people at Apple say that the health monitor result is not meant to diagnose or replace doctor's judgment, but instead, it allows patients to have a deep, thoughtful conversation with doctors based on the data on their device.

One big and long-established tech company which makes Apple and Google must watch out is

Microsoft

Windows is one of the most integrated operating systems around the world. Nearly every computer run on Windows, and it should not be a surprise that Windows earns itself great credit in the businesses sector as well, particularly the healthcare sector.

However, the operating system is not the only aspect of healthcare that this big tech company wants to make an impact.

Since 2017, Microsoft has established multiple research projects on applying artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing to the healthcare sector in its Cambridge research lab. The diabetes research and patient monitoring management are also the target point of Microsoft on the path to support healthcare provider to deliver more dedicated care to people.

Related post: 5 Jaw-Dropping Benefits Of AI In Healthcare

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There's a saying that initially comes from African proverb stated that: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Well, Microsoft has done its homework and execute this concept strategically on their path to influence healthcare sector.

Microsoft and Phillips had established a partnership on an augmented reality concept for physicians to perform the most minimally invasive technique on patients as possible. The idea extracts the best of the best values from these two companies which are Microsoft's HoloLens 2 and Phillips's Azurion platform.

Another strategic partnership is the unification of Microsoft and Walgreens Boots Alliance. The company aims to harness the power of Microsoft's cloud and AI platform and Walgreens Boots Alliance's retail innovations for the care that is personal, affordable and accessible that everyone deserves.

Google

When we question about something, we usually turn to the know-it-all Google search tool. The same thing happens when we are feeling sick, we ask "Dr. Google" for the solution before making an appointment with the "real" doctor.

Google receives tons of questions on various subjects, and the head of Google Health stated that 7 percent of Google's searches are health-related questions. Hence, it's natural to say that Google should give us the most accurate information. Along the road, Google benefits from the data is extracted from users as well.

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However, health data is not only the aspect that Google wants to make an impact.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google and Verily Life Sciences, has strong visions for the healthcare sector and the vision orient the companies that it owns to be more research-centric. As a result, the number of health patents Alphabet has been filling was around 186 around the period from 2013 to 2017. This number outshines the number of patents of both Microsoft and Apple combined.

Its effort in research has made a lot of advancement in the healthcare sector. Such innovations include the algorithm detecting diabetic retinopathy through images, the project aiming to establish the baseline of good health from 10.000 people, the introduction of Streams app which diagnoses acute kidney injuries, etc.

Most recently, Google has launched the Google Brain project that allowing doctors to take note through speech recognition by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence.

Verily Life Sciences does not stay out of the game against its peers either. It has established a partnership with a pharmaceutical company called Gilead to detect heart disease by observing the patient's eyes. Moreover, to tackle sleep apnea, Verily has partnered with ResMed and to understand why many patients are not taking their pill, the company has partnered with Walgreen.

All the healthcare partnership are all based on the most critical factor, technology. And it should give us hope how these innovations will positively change the healthcare sector in the future.

One last not-so-unfamiliar face in the tech community is

Amazon

The aspect that Amazon is taking is not from medical innovation but medical products, in specific, medical supplies and medical prescription. This strategic move shows that the e-commerce giant is taking could set itself on the path to disrupt the healthcare supply chain judging from the fact that medical supplies spending is only behind hospital spendings.

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Image credit: Unsplash

Also, Amazon is not entering the market without a strategic partnership.

The healthcare company comprises of Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway is now called Haven Healthcare. At first, the initiative aims to provide the three companies' employee, which is about 1.2 million people, a solution to a reasonable cost and high-quality care. With such high number of the employee like that, this will be a crucial point for Amazon and its partners to understand and dig in insight for future expansion thanks to advancement in data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

To even prove Amazon's strategic move in the healthcare industry, the company had acquired PillPack that has mail-order licenses in every US's states which allow the online retailer to expand quicker.

But focusing only on retail would not please all Amazon's partners. That's why the company had established a research lab called 1492. Its focus would be all about healthcare innovations in fighting diseases and developing medical software.

These innovations from the tech giants shall strongly impact the entire healthcare industry and people's behavior.

We all must wait and see, or perhaps, you actively make a move to innovate your business with EnvZone.

Related post: How Tech Giant Makes An Impact In Education

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