Some of the biggest and most famous brands in America are making big bets on health care. The blue chips of Silicon Valley — Amazon, Apple, Google, Uber — have announced in the past few weeks they’re interested in disrupting an industry that has bedeviled us with rising costs and inefficiencies for decades.
Amazon is setting up a mysterious new partnership with JPMorgan Chase and Warren Buffett. Apple is planning a line of (surely sleek and minimalist) medical clinics. Google’s sibling under the umbrella company Alphabet, Verily, is looking at the Medicaid market. Uber wants to disrupt ambulances.
It is way, way, way too early to start imagining a world where health care is truly owned by Big Tech — you order prescription drugs with your Amazon Prime account, see a nurse at the Apple Clinic, get your benefits statements from Google, and call an Uber instead of an ambulance when you need to go to the hospital.
But something is happening here. The most proven, forward-thinking, and, dare I say, disruptive companies in our country have decided health care should be their next big move. They see a system rife with administrative inefficiencies, opaque prices, and customer dissatisfaction. In other words, a huge opportunity.
“Ultimately, nothing is gonna happen that quickly. But it definitely is something that we didn’t see a year ago,” Bob Schulz, a managing director at Standard & Poor’s, told me. “I think some of these nontraditional players are interested because it’s big. It’s attractive in that way. It’s opaque and complex. So maybe there’s a way that they can make it better.”
Some health care systems now provide basic feedback to the clinicians as they enter orders and other information into the system. But currently in most cases, that feedback is very basic. By applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) the clinicians can receive significantly better insight that can help them select the optimal course of care and reduce errors.
Physicians don’t want to spend their time entering data, and Artificial Intelligence can also help clinicians enter and capture information, as well as receive timely updates in a more efficient manner. Many of you have used Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, or Google Assistant to receive updates or perform tasks.
You have probably noticed how rapidly this technology has improved recently, and it’s now commonly used in homes, on phones, and throughout your day to make everything flow better. As this technology matures, it will be applied to health care environments, and improve the flow throughout the health care delivery process.
Universal Health Data Exchange:
By providing a doctor your full medical record and a complete picture of your health history, it can improve the quality of care and reduce medical errors. But for most Americans, their medical history is scattered across the many hospitals, doctor offices and clinics they have visited over the years. EMRs (electronic health records) and EHRs (electronic health records) are finally implemented in prominent health care organizations.
While we now have digital records, unfortunately, the data is still trapped within each organization. Health care needs a universal health data exchange. To achieve an open, timely exchange of health information, the right incentives must be applied including:
- Financial incentives: One of the primary reasons for EMRs/EHRs were finally implemented by providers was due to the financial incentives instituted by the government and payers. A similar incentive will likely need to be applied to create and implement a viable health care data exchange.
- Consumer demands: Consumers have access to their data and service history in other industries, and eventually they will demand the same from the health care organizations they select. If a health care organization fails to participate in the data exchange, they will be viewed as obsolete and consumers will select more progressive providers.
- The right standards: While health care data standards have existed for many years, critical pieces are still missing. Health care can leverage lessons learned from the financial services industry and other industries that have developed clearing houses or other universal exchanges that remove the barriers for a secure, timely data exchange.
Next Generation of Personal Health Wearables:
SmartWatches such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and others now provide millions of people more insight into their fitness, wellness, and overall health picture. In each new version, additional features are added that provide a more complete picture.
Early versions provided just a single point in time heart rate, but now smartwatches can continuously monitor your heart rate, provide a historical reference, and alert you to abnormalities.
Smartwatches will become even “smarter” and add new capabilities. Personal health wearables will expand beyond smartwatches, and discreetly take on new forms and functions. As manufacturers add other key monitoring capabilities, it will improve the depth, breadth, and timeliness of health information.
By providing better tracking of your daily health, applying more advanced artificial intelligence, and creating a timely exchange of health care information.
Future Technology Will Play a Key Role in Providing Better Health Care. 🙂 🙂