PART 2: Healthcare Opportunities and Challenges

Can Amazon (, Apple (, Google ( and Microsoft ( transform the U.S. healthcare market? That is risk adverse to change and bureaucratic by rules. What can consumers and enterprises expect?

I highlight some key areas for (Big Tech) innovation and challenges.

Amazon is consumer focused on transforming retail and telemedicine services.

  • Nationwide pharmacy. Amazon becomes a pharmacy. Due to the acquisition of PillPack. Consumers can expect online and brick and motor options. Order online or visit a Whole Foods pharmacy equipped with self-service kiosks.
  • Telemedicine and Digital Assistants. Digital Assistants (Alexa/Echo) will track specific conditions from patients’ homes. Voice authorizations will activate data sharing, scheduling medical appointments and order medications.
  • Expect intramural competition. Between Big Tech’s HIPPA-complaint cloud and digital assistant offerings. As well others, such as, Soundhound ( to compete.

Apple is consumer and developer- focused for transforming preventive care. By offering Do-it Yourself (DIY) apps, wearable devices and subscription services.

  • Consumers will use their personal devices, wearables and apps. To track and update their health status. Ranging from nutritional habits, cholesterol levels and heart rates. As well as detect signs for heart attacks. (
  • Digital Health Records. Consumers using Apps, APIs and subscription services can aggregate their medical records.  To control their own medical histories.
  • Expect. Non-iOS devices (wearables), such as, Garmin (, Fitbit and ( to compete.

Alphabet and Google is consumer, and enterprise (insurers, providers and researchers) focused for gaining more actionable insight.

  • Predictive Outcomes. Google’s AI capabilities, cloud infrastructure and data management tools. Will render probability-based decision gleamed from data models. Consumers can expect Google’s App “Streams” to offer them probabilities. For example, your length of hospitalization based on known quantifiable conditions. For insurers, risk assessments to predict fraudulent patterns or equalize price optimizations.
  • Expect intramural competition. Also for risk assessments, such as, AETNA ( and LexusNexus (

Microsoft’s installed base of providers and researchers will likely grow. They use (Windows) operating systems. Its probable they will opt for (Azure’s) cloud infrastructure managed services. Expect enterprises (developer, provider, researcher) to be their focus.

  • Microsoft replaced its consumer for an enterprise strategy. The Healthcare NExT strategy. Offers AI, Machine Learning and Cloud services. Allowing enterprises to accelerate their efforts, such as application development.
  • Expect intramural competition and others, such as, IBM ( Oracle ( and SAP ( )

Key Challenges:


Caveat Emptor. Understand differences between FDA approved and non  approved devices.  Truth in advertising is paramount. Monitor consumer advocacy groups and government notices.

Multiplicity. Big Tech is renown for ditching projects. Consumers should understand extent of investments.

Record Sharing. Expect limited services. If interoperability between proprietary databases and systems is not fully successful. Monitor adoption of FHIR and other standards to facilitate record exchanges.

Structured Data. Healthcare is Big Data. Your unstructured data (notes) remains undiscoverable. Monitor Big Tech’s efforts to facilitate predefined data schemas and classifications to structure these data sets.


Data Privacy. Personally identifiable information is legally protected. Require Data Use (HIPPA-compliant) agreements. Especially, if involved with AI programs. That require constant data to learn.

Identity protection. Expect more costs (anonymization or encryption) and controls (audits) limiting opportunities.

Dark Horse/Disruption. Keep options. Competitors better able to solve a particular business or technology problem may emerge. For example, IBM’s research efforts into Cognitive Computing and IoT/Wearable’s. Industry alliances may emerge as alternative solutions. For example, the Synaptic Health Alliance ( piloting Block chain technologies.

Stay tuned for my third post, My Future Healthcare. That primarily examines how our future healthcare is to be delivered and priced.

References: ( and (

What Do You Think?

 Author Disclosure

I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I have no vested interest in any of the products, firms or institutions mentioned in this post. Nor does the Analyst Syndicate. This is not a sponsored post.