How Big Tech is reinventing healthcare

The Big Four tech companies — Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft — are accelerating their pursuits of the healthcare market, and they're starting to hone their strategies and stake corners within the industry. 

Here is how these tech giants are ramping up their investments and collaborations in the healthcare space.

​​Amazon 

Amazon has been investing into the healthcare space in many sectors. Its cloud arm, Amazon Web Services inked partnerships with Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger; Sacramento, Calif.-based UC Davis Health; Boston-based Tufts Medicine and EHR giant Oracle Cerner

As health systems look to improve operational and clinical efficiencies, Amazon Web Services has become a popular cloud service. 

Amazon is also setting up initiatives to transform pharmacy, the medical supply chain, health insurance and care delivery. 

In 2018, Amazon entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire online pharmacy PillPack for about $1 billion. 

In 2019, the company launched Amazon Care, a virtual health clinic program that includes in-app visits with a physician, nurse practitioner or nurse for employees seeking medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or referrals.

And most recently, the tech giant announced plans to acquire virtual and in-person primary care company One Medical for $3.9 billion. 

According to Amazon, the move aims to offer more convenient and affordable healthcare in-person and virtually. 

Apple 

Apple is striving to turn its consumer products into portable patient health hubs and valuable clinical research tools.

Most recently, Apple released its first-ever report outlining its digital health strategy.

The company is looking to beef up its consumer-facing products, like the Apple Watch and iPhone with new health features. Some of these include allowing users to store 150 different types of medical information on their Apple products and implementing sensors in the Apple Watch that can detect a hard fall or heart irregularities. 

Google (Alphabet) 

Alphabet is leaning on its cloud platform and artificial intelligence capabilities to land strategic hospital partnerships. 

Most recently, Alphabet landed a partnership with New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health. 

Northwell Health selected Google as its preferred cloud provider. The health system will use Google's cloud, AI and machine learning enhancements to create predictive clinical insights, digital scheduling, automated payer interactions and intelligent visit summaries.

Health insurer Anthem also partnered with the tech company to use its AI capabilities to identify fraudulent claims and abnormalities in patients' health. 

Microsoft 

Microsoft is facing off against Alphabet and Amazon Web Services in the healthcare cloud market. 

Most recently, Microsoft announced its partnership with UPMC. 

The tech giant will provide the health system's clinical analytics team with its computing, AI and machine to help mine more than 13 petabytes of structured clinical data and 18 petabytes of imaging data to create new insights that improve patient care. 

Microsoft's cloud division also inked a partnership with Oracle. 

The Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure will connect Oracle's database service directly to the Azure cloud, eliminating effort and technical expertise on the part of customers to make it work.

Microsoft is also deepening its healthcare acquisitions.

On March 7, the company acquired AI speech recognition company Nuance for $19.7 billion. 

Nuance, which provides tools for recognizing and transcribing speech in physician visits, voicemails and other services, accelerates the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare initiative that was announced in 2020. 

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