Each year Americans spend nearly $3.5 trillion on healthcare. And compared to the rest of the world, that amount is the most expensive.
However, this could soon change with tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon moving into the medical space. Through a digital revolution, these companies want to lower prices, grow the healthcare market, and improve the quality of patient care.
But which company is best poised to create an integrated solution that can help bring all the new technologies together? Analysts think it’s Amazon. And with the help of innovations like artificial intelligence (AI) and telemedicine, they can make this happen.
Patients are already seeing improvements in care. For example, telehealth platform, DoctorSpring, has answers for remote patients already. Perhaps with Amazon’s latest innovations, more people will have access to similar services.
Recent Tech Innovations in Healthcare: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Telemedicine, and Health Tracking Devices
Within the past five years, there have been huge technological developments in healthcare.
For starters, the Apple Watch Series 5 has an ECG app and is FDA-approved to diagnose some heart-related conditions. It is also now standard for smartwatches to have the capability to track calories, monitor sleep, and notify wearers of any heartbeat abnormalities. The amount of healthcare data collected currently is unprecedented and will likely lead to groundbreaking research.
Amazon Transcribe Medical records interactions between doctors and patients. Then, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, a text transcription of the interaction is documented in the patient’s medical records.
Amazon’s other healthcare innovation is only available exclusively to employees. Known as ‘Amazon Care’, the optional program is a telehealth app that includes care services via text or video. Users can also arrange a visit with a mobile nurse who can come to see them at their home or Amazon office.
What’s Next? Amazon’s Unique Opportunity
Considering Amazon’s strong position as both a retailer and a distributor, this puts them in a unique position to overhaul healthcare as we know it. Many analysts are convinced that the rollout of Amazon Care is just the first step in Amazon’s transformation.
Amazon has also recently formed a non-profit venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan. The purpose of this venture? To provide ‘health care solutions for the three companies’ combined 1.25 million employees.’
Analysts believe this project will act as the training grounds for a potential nationwide program.
Not Everyone’s Excited
Not everyone is excited about Amazon’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) and telemedicine to transform healthcare.
For starters, the general public does not trust Amazon’s collection of their personal data. Many others aren’t enthused about how history’s richest man spends his funds. However, no one can deny, the man has been a genius at business. This doesn’t mean those people will like their personal information shared with him, for greater good however.
People aren’t too keen on the idea of receiving health care through their phone. Even though Doctorspring has answers for many patients all over the country, particularly older patients will prefer to see a doctor in real life.
Employers who pay for employee healthcare are also hesitant. This is due to the possibility of having to pay for even more appointments via video or chat.
However, critics assert that for the long-term, telehealth options will drive down costs. This is due to the fact that patients and doctors may catch health problems sooner if they use the app more frequently.