The involvement of Big Tech in healthcare has increased in recent years, with major tech giants playing a significant role in reforming the industry.
Increased tech development in the healthcare industry has generally meant efficient handling of several manual processes and faster financial services and transactions. However, it could also present problems as the tech giants move forward to compete with established organisations in the industry.
In the article below, we look at all the different ways the known giants of the tech industry are integrating themselves into healthcare, the effect of this new integration on customers, and the future possibilities in the industry.
How are big tech companies reforming the healthcare sector?
The global healthcare industry has reached a record market value of 11 trillion USD and will continue to increase in line with population growth. Innovation occurs following the existence of a ‘need.’ The traditional healthcare approach is rapidly becoming outdated and needs a way to deal with massive increases in patient numbers. As such, archaic manual mass processing is becoming automated through technological innovation.
New software models are optimising the industry regularly as technology replaces more and more manual processes. This means that established tech giants are now ploughing their way through the ever-increasing middle ground that links healthcare to the tech industry.
The leading organisations are the Big Four of the tech world, namely Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Each company is immersed in potential investment, developing newer, better healthcare products and partnerships with established brand names.
Since the tech giants are already well known for factors such as product quality and durability, not to mention being reputable leaders in their original field, there is plenty of competition in the oligopoly structure to increase market share in healthcare. The companies are trying to outdo one another by leveraging their respective influences in aspects such as cloud computing and reliable software development.
With the global transition to a better digital approach to everything, healthcare patients and providers are eager to explore new software models to increase ease and efficiency in the field.
Therefore, this period is not the end or even the middle of a tech-ruled healthcare industry. Instead, it is only the beginning, with massive prospects for growth in the future years.
Apple in healthcare
In recent years, Apple has been actively promoting the Apple Watch as a clinical instrument, fixing it with a variety of features all related to healthcare, thus marketing it to be less of a fashion gadget and more of a prominent tool in the industry. In addition, the iPhone is also being utilised to maintain partnerships with numerous medical researchers, payers, and healthcare systems.
With the already popular health-related platforms and features, including Health Records and Genetic Testing, Apple seems invested in successfully branching out the organisation’s health division.
Gadgets such as the Apple Watch, which were initially consumer products, are being transformed into proper clinical instruments and portable healthcare hubs. As a company, Apple is striving to fulfil Tim Cook’s, their CEO’s, vision of making healthcare the company’s most prominent contribution to the world.
Therefore, we can be assured that Apple has yet more contributions to make to this industry.
Amazon in healthcare
With its AWS (Amazon Web Services) technology and leverage in the voice tech field, Amazon has been moving its way into hospitals in recent years. The company is also tapping into new entrepreneurship through various health-related projects, using huge partnerships and company takeovers.
AWS is also actively creating a base in the telehealth sector, using its massive employee bases. It is also attempting to enter into the medical supplies distribution sector via its well-known delivery strategies.
With healthcare services such as PillPack, Amazon Care and Haven, Amazon is actively establishing itself to be the one to digitally transform health insurance, pharmacies and healthcare delivery, to name a few sectors.
Microsoft in healthcare
While Microsoft has largely stayed away from direct consumer products in the health market, it faces fierce competition from Apple and Google regarding the cloud market. Using its leverage in cloud computing, the organisation has focused on its data analytics software and cloud platform Azure to maintain its power in the industry.
Azure allows healthcare providers, including hospitals and clinics, to store and share data using reliable cloud computing software. Another one of its focuses is the data analytics it provides to organisations in the industry to successfully target parts of a much larger population to achieve the most effective health results.
Microsoft’s Healthcare NExT, another prominent health-related program by the company, is constructed to assist in the exploration of the ways professionals can use technology with maximum efficiency and effectiveness in the healthcare field. Other relevant features include Microsoft Health Bot, Medical Scribe and Microsoft Genomics.
Google in healthcare
Google isn’t behind in the race for the interrelation of the tech and health markets, already infiltrating the industry with several health-related features and solutions, including DeepMind, Calico, Google Fit, and Verily, as well as the most recognised product FitBit.
With Google Alphabet, the organisation has concentrated on the industry’s demand for precision medicine and reliable analytics, working on cost-effective software and enhancement for healthcare patients and providers.
A massive step for the tech giant was when it gained control of the popular wearable FitBit, for a shocking two billion USD, enabling it to gain access to a previously limited world of big tech in pharma settings.
Making the most of its data optimisation and artificial intelligence expertise, Google Alphabet is seeking to use the latest technology to streamline medical research. It is also utilising its cloud platform software to build strategic partnerships in the health industry, especially with its use of EHR (electronic healthcare record) to promote interoperability.
What are the benefits of technological advancements in healthcare?
The benefits of technological advancements in the healthcare industry include efficient handling of patient records, improved access to medical care and an improved diagnostics system. In addition, some medians also allow access to healthcare from a distance, such as telehealth.
Improved diagnostics system
Diagnostic technology has solved many problems and doubts in healthcare, improving factors including speed, accessibility and accuracy. Diseases that are traditionally difficult to identify at an early and actionable stage can now be recognised in their early stages because of access to updated technology.
Technological advancements such as tele-retinal imaging (which is increasingly used to identify diabetic retinopathy) play an essential role in detecting health issues that could otherwise be fatal.
Efficient handling of patient records
In the past, in developing countries, patients needed to ring up their healthcare providers – their local clinic or the hospital – to know their medical test results. As a result, efficiency wasn’t adequately achieved in the workplace as the administrative staff constantly checked and rechecked the paperwork and made due calls to related patients.
The digital healthcare industry is much more efficient when dealing with patient records with the introduction of EHR in recent years. Adopting this technology in the workplace allows the patient’s information to be immediately available to both the patient and the doctors, using automated software to maintain a link between the technology and its users.
With EHR, patients can quickly check their records and test results on the relevant website portal without needing to call their doctor’s office. Healthcare teams can also make efficient and speedy decisions in the workplace concerning patient information. Since portability is a noticeable attribute of this update, tech organisations are finding solutions using the feature of EHR integrations.
Improved access to healthcare
Technology has also made healthcare far more accessible. Traditionally due to physical limitations, transportation barriers and busy lifestyles, individuals could only sometimes reach a designated healthcare spot to get punctual treatment for their problems.
However, with technology software such as telehealth and portable tools like handheld Fundus cameras, healthcare providers can assist remote patients in need via the latest methods, especially those in disadvantaged communities.
What is the future of big tech in healthcare?
The future of big tech in healthcare is unclear at the moment, but it is set to be determined by The Big Four, who are already revolutionising the healthcare industry.
While it might have been difficult to warm up to consumers on a global scale, the advancement of big tech in medicine has generally been welcomed and appreciated by patients and providers. Right now, it also seems like a field of opportunities for potential employees as new positions bridging technology and healthcare continue to emerge.
As technology revolutionises the healthcare industry, established tech titans are already looking for ways to leverage the most market share within their niches. While this might cause some moody weather for domestic establishments, there is no denying that tech has become an ever-growing part of the health industry.
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