By JAMES MOELLER
Remote affected person monitoring has emerged as the subsequent vital problem for digital healthcare and that problem is creating vital alternatives for a lot of firms largely outdoors of the standard healthcare know-how market. Specifically, it’s probably organising a chance for Big Tech firms like Apple, Google, and Amazon, to revolutionize telemedicine and healthcare comparable to what these firms have completed in cell phones, Web search, and retail.
Subsequent Era Remote Health Monitoring
Subsequent era distant healthcare monitoring will probably look a lot totally different than something carried out earlier than. What’s rising in the present day is the potential for the broad adoption of distant well being monitoring units and programs that leverage client wearables, sensible dwelling communication programs, and large information to produce holistic views particularly for healthcare suppliers. The pandemic has thrust telemedicine options ahead by years if not a decade or extra within the brief span of three to six months. That is creating a chance for distant affected person monitoring to present even higher visibility into sufferers past what will be completed with fundamental video conferencing.
However whereas telemedicine is now changing into extra firmly established, distant monitoring appears to nonetheless have a good distance to go. That is evident in a brand new report by KLAS Research (a healthcare business analysis agency) printed on August 27th, the place they interviewed 19 executives from 18 healthcare organizations concerning their challenges and options in the course of the outbreak of the pandemic. Not surprisingly, telemedicine was the highest problem with 32% of the executives. Total, although, 84% of the executives indicated that the telemedicine points have been already solved and the remining 16% indicated that the options have been in progress. Nonetheless, distant affected person monitoring ranked because the second most vital problem with 26% of the respondents. However moreover, solely 22% of the executives indicated the distant monitoring challenges have been solved, with 33% saying it was in progress, and 45% indicating it was utterly unsolved. So, a transparent alternative exists.
Big Tech’s Digital Healthcare Market Leverage
For Big Tech, the leverage into digital well being comes from the power to supply distant monitoring options throughout wearables, ambient sensors, and sensible dwelling communication units, in addition to the aptitude to apply large information, AI, and machine studying to the knowledge from these units. Big Tech is even combining these know-how options with healthcare particular providers like telemedicine, prescription drug supply, and medical testing. Market proof means that Big Tech is already placing these items collectively and utilizing this leverage to develop into the broader healthcare market.
Wearables and Ambient Sensors
Wearables and ambient sensors, and notably consumer-oriented variations of those merchandise, are a key enabler of subsequent era distant healthcare monitoring by serving because the precept reference to the person. Over simply the previous couple of years the general marketplace for wearables has elevated considerably and the market demarcations are blurring between conventional medical wearables and client well being and health wearables.
Apple leads the general wearables market with its Watch, Beats, and AirPod merchandise. Throughout these product strains the corporate shipped 29+ million units in Q2 2020 and holds an approximate 30% market share, which is sort of 3 times the dimensions of its nearest competitor. As well as, the Apple Watch is aggressively pushing into classical medical applications with its capacity to measure blood oxygenation ranges, its electrocardiogram (ECG) functionality, and its capacity to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib) in addition to different cardiovascular circumstances. (5)
Fitbit, which is within the means of being acquired by Google, sometimes ranks 5th in the wearables segment with a market share of approximately 3%. Whereas Fitbit’s market share has been declining as of late, it will nonetheless place Google with an instantaneous unit cargo buyer base (for Q2 of 2020) of roughly 2.5 million in addition to its active user base of approximately 30 million.
Not to be neglected, Amazon recently introduced its own wristband wearable device for health and fitness tracking called Halo. Its aiming to differentiate within the wearables market by providing capabilities to measure and observe physique fats, sleep temperature, and emotional state.
Sensible Residence Communication Gadgets
Sensible dwelling communication units reminiscent of sensible audio system and dwelling management programs may even be a key element of subsequent era digital healthcare. These programs can function communication entry factors to the Web for decrease energy wearables and ambient sensors, and additionally allow clever private assistant capabilities, reminiscent of reminders to take medicines, and assist in monitoring train and different behavioral well being facets.
Amazon is the dominant market chief in sensible dwelling communication units with its Echo Alexa private assistant, which has estimated 50%+ market share as of January 2020. Amazon was first-to-market with its sensible speaker system and continues to increase its capabilities with an ever-expanding array of interactive expertise. This contains expertise to combine Amazon’s Ring dwelling safety and management system, its portfolio of Alexa wearable devices, and quite a few third-party merchandise.
Google has the second place within the sensible dwelling communications system market with an approximate 30% market share for its Nest sensible speaker merchandise. (8) Not too long ago the corporate make a $450 million investment in ADT, Inc. with the goal of rising its Nest deployments particularly within the dwelling safety market. Google also has a relationship with the Cleveland Clinic that has just lately materialized right into a functionality for its Nest sensible audio system that permit customers to ask for Cleveland Clinic health tips. It is a excellent instance of the digital healthcare synergies that may be completed with sensible dwelling communication units.
Apple is behind the competitors within the sensible dwelling communications market. The firm’s HomePod sensible speaker is a distant 4th in market share at only 2.8%. So, whereas Apple’s Siri assistant has been an integral a part of its iPhone for fairly a while, the corporate has but to make an affect in combining Siri and HomePod for the house market.
The large information processing of medical data will grow to be more and more necessary as digital healthcare distant monitoring grows. The capacity to analyze the huge quantities of real-time, streaming information to produce developments, correlations, and medical diagnoses can probably rework how healthcare is utilized at each a person and societal degree. Big Tech is uniquely positioned with shear company measurement and know-how property to pursue distant monitoring large information. As well as, Big Tech is already pursuing healthcare information relationships with vital healthcare suppliers and can leverage these tasks into new purposes processing distant monitoring information.
In 2019 Google made waves in establishing relationships with each Ascension Health and the Mayo Clinic to accomplice on the event of digital instruments that combine healthcare information into new affected person care fashions. Whereas the Ascension deal, specifically, raised considerations about affected person information privateness, the 2 relationships will present Google useful expertise in processing healthcare information that may be leveraged into future distant monitoring information purposes.
Apple is leveraging its iPhone and wearables merchandise in its well being information initiatives. In 2018 the corporate launched a health records app for the iPhone the place Apple companions with healthcare suppliers to ship a affected person’s data to their cell phone. As well as, Apple has established a variety of research relationships with group reminiscent of Harvard’s T.H. Chan College of Public Health, Brigham and Ladies’s Hospital, College of Michigan, and others, that concentrate on cardiovascular tasks associated to the Apple Watch and listening to tasks associated to the AirPod earbuds.
Amazon’s precept relationship for well being information is with Cerner Company, which has an approximate 25% share for digital well being data programs throughout all the healthcare market. In 2019, Cerner chose Amazon Web Services as its most well-liked cloud supplier for its healthcare affected person information. Extra just lately the businesses introduced an extra collaboration the place customers utilizing Amazon’s Halo wearable can opt-in to share their exercise and well being information and permit that data to be saved of their affected person file in Cerner’s programs. The affected person’s healthcare supplier can then entry and consider that data instantly within the affected person’s data. That is one other instance of digital well being synergies completed by way of the built-in capabilities of a client wearable, well being information programs, and a affected person’s healthcare supplier.
As essentially the most straight-forward initiatives towards revolutionize healthcare, Big Tech can also be instantly getting into the healthcare supplier and providers market, which at a minimal supplies a handy platform to leverage its healthcare know-how and information options.
In 2018 Apple launched a group of health clinics called AC Wellness for its staff and their households. These clinics are usually specializing in offering main care however have prolonged that to additionally included on-site lab testing and wellness care reminiscent of train and dietary applications.
Final September Amazon launched its pilot telemedicine program, Amazon Care, for its staff in Seattle. This service contains digital main care in addition to dwelling consultations and prescription drug providers by way of Amazon’s PillPack division, a digital pharmacy Amazon acquired in 2018.
Google’s most up-to-date exercise takes a special method the place on August 24th it introduced it was investing $100 million in telemedicine provider Amwell. The synergies talked about within the deal particularly centered on Google’s cloud computing providers, however the intersection extends into its information processing and machine studying experience and can probably faucet into its dwelling private assistant merchandise for distant monitoring capabilities.
Challenges and Alternatives Forward
When Big Tech pursues enterprise progress, the businesses should suppose large and search for markets which might be ripe to be completely remodeled. With the global healthcare market size at more than $8 trillion and new applied sciences poised to rework how healthcare is executed, a primary alternative exists. However vital questions stay by way of the technological options, the market aggressive and relationship dynamics, and after all, considerations about regulatory and data privateness.
Regardless of the market positions of Big Tech in wearables, sensible dwelling communications, and large information, there continues to be vital enterprise capital and start-up exercise within the technological areas of digital well being that have a tendency to deal with alternatives that Big Tech hasn’t but pursued. The firms that obtain some extent of success will probably expertise a really enticing market to be acquired by not solely Big Tech opponents like Apple, Amazon, and Google, but additionally the main telemedicine firms like Teladoc Health, Amwell, MDLIve, and SOC Telemed in addition to technology-oriented insurers like UnitedHealth Group. From a Big Tech product portfolio perspective, two of the extra vital gaps pertain to Apple’s place in sensible dwelling communications and Amazon’s place in wearables. Within the sensible speaker market, Apple’s 4th place place behind Sonos Inc. has led to hypothesis that Apple would possibly purchase Sonos purely to improve its market share. That is not possible to occur given Apple’s reluctance to massive M&A offers and, extra importantly, its latest announcement that it’s will stop selling Sonos products in the Apple Store. So, for the second, Apple appears to be like to be making ready to develop its market share by itself. For Amazon within the wearables market, the state of affairs is analogous. There doesn’t look to be any wearable or smartwatch firms that assist Amazon’s market place. Even when Amazon have been to purchase an organization like Garmin, it will solely enhance its market share by just a few share factors.
The aggressive and relationship dynamics of the digital healthcare market will proceed to be very energetic as broad business options come collectively. In the end, this market is a non-trivial mixture of know-how, data programs, and healthcare suppliers. Big Tech has vital positions in lots of key markets, however lacks appreciable publicity to others, most notably within the healthcare supplier space. The first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic has thrust telemedicine suppliers like Teladoc Health, Amwell, MDLive, and SOC Telemed to the forefront and positions them as key elements of future digital well being options. Teladoc just recently announced an $18.5 billion deal to acquire Livongo, an organization centered on distant monitoring and digital well being providers for diabetes and associated well being points. Amwell, MDLive, and SOC Telemed are all accessing the general public markets to shore up entry to capital and the power to leverage inventory as an acquisition forex. So, look ahead to all these firms to be energetic acquirers. However for Big Tech there are many more private telemedicine companies that could be acquisition targets to enhance Big Tech’s connection to the healthcare supplier market. These embody firms reminiscent of Physician on Demand, Crossover Health, 98point6, and HealthTap. In reality, Amazon just recently announced a partnership with Crossover Health to present well being providers to its staff and well being facilities close to its achievement and operations amenities. This might probably be a precursor to a extra vital acquisition alternative.
Final, however definitely not least, are the considerations over regulatory points and data privateness. For Big Tech, underneath the present setting, any initiatives to seize vital parts of the subsequent era digital healthcare market are probably to appeal to much more scrutiny concerning antitrust points and the businesses’ talents to maintain affected person data personal. However even these challenges are unlikely to deter Big Tech’s pursuit of healthcare. The market alternative is simply too enticing.
Jim Moeller supplies enterprise intelligence information analytics consulting providers together with reports, strategic planning, aggressive evaluation, know-how evaluation, and mental property analysis.