HOW BIG TECH SEES IN HEALTH

Silicon Valley is ramping up its health care ventures to profit from a vast and fast-growing part of the economy. Big tech is trying to remake healthcare.

Tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google are moving into the business of keeping people well, a logical frontier.

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APPLE

Apple’s latest foray into personal health starts with the new iWatch Apple can:

  • Track your vital signs

  • Organises your health history

  • Link to other apps and systems

  • Call for help after a fall

  • Monitor heart beats for dangerous conditions

  • Do an electrocardiogram

  • Collect data for medical research,

  • Connect hospital medical-record systems.

AMAZON

Amazon plans to shake up the prescription-drug business and health coverage, but they dominate other areas of health already

  • Medical product sales (latex gloves, bed liners, specialized dental tools, medical devices) move beyond $10 billion.

  • Electronic medical records

  • Genomics researchers store and analyze vast amounts of data, ramp up processing power for trials and modeling - allowing more cost-effective tests.

GOOGLE

Google wants to help make you live longer and has moved into

  • health-insurance

  • understanding the process of aging and extending life spans

  • new ways to collect and use health data (contact lens that monitors glucose levels.

  • artificial-intelligence with a significant health care focus.

  • Medically focused and HIPAA-compliant cloud storage, email and file-sharing products

  • health-tracking apps

  • “Dr. Google” where doctors help ensure common questions are answered accurately

MICROSOFT

Microsoft is trying to

  • sell hospitals, drugmakers and doctors software, cloud processing and artificial-intelligence services for more personalized medical care.

  • speech/language recognition for a “triage bot”

  • tools for monitoring whether a patient sticks with a treatment plan

  • cloud-computing harnessing the processing muscle for computing-intensive genetic analysis.

  • Using machine learning to target cancer therapies

  • Big data to detect cancers or other potentially fatal medical conditions earlier.

IT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

While this is the beginning, and challenges lay ahead such as:

  • Algorithmic technology can trigger false positives,

  • Skepticism is high, and

  • Rebuilding health infrastructure takes years.

Watch this fast emerging space.