UnitedHealth a step ahead of Amazon in EMR game, trading near record highs

Companies streamlining EMR data, including UnitedHealth Group, have traded near record highs, while several medical distributors have seen stocks dip after news of an upcoming Amazon software release that can mine patient health records for data to boost medical supply sales via its online pharmacy, according to Bloomberg.

The EMR industry has grown for years under government mandates and incentives, but now the focus has shifted to harnessing data and making it actionable. The reason Amazon's push into this arena didn't harm UnitedHealth is because UnitedHealth is years ahead on this focus, according to Steven Halper, a Cantor Fitzgerald analyst.

Amazon is working on the back end of the EMR, where UnitedHealth already has experience. Companies with EHR legacy products, such as UnitedHealth and Cerner, may have a competitive edge over Amazon and the "logical conclusion" may mean the e-commerce giant will partner instead of competing, Mr. Halper told Bloomberg.  

A different analyst Ana Gupte agrees, "Amazon has a tough hill to climb to disrupt medical record analytics," she told Bloomberg.

On the other hand, Amazon may become the "Trojan horse" for medical distributors because the supplies business may be tough to grow in this new market, Morgan Stanley's Ricky Goldwasser told Bloomberg.

Read the full report here.

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