Mar 26, 2018
Here's a rundown of the big tech health care ventures announced over the past month:
- Amazon-JPMorgan Chase-Berkshire Hathaway: I reviewed the trio's partnership at length in January. Their venture is the most opaque: They want to bring down health care costs for their employees. Experts think that will likely mean using Amazon's software savvy to create a better technological platform for administering health care. But the long-term play for Amazon could be inserting itself into the health care distribution chain by selling medical devices and, perhaps eventually, becoming an online pharmacy. Amazon is a specialist in retail, handling payments and merchandise, so the thinking is the company could break into both health care administration and the distribution of equipment, drugs, and devices.
- Apple: The iPhone maker is also focusing on its own workers, with plans to open two California clinics that would deliver "a world-class health care experience." The company seems to be aiming for a holistic approach, with medical centers staffed by doctors and lab technicians but also exercise specialists and care navigators. Population health and preventive care will be the guiding principles, driving down costs by helping workers stay healthy rather than treating them once they get sick.
- Verily, part of Alphabet, which also owns Google: The corporate structure has gotten muddled, but this is effectively Google as far as we laypeople are concerned. Verily is, CNBC reported, apparently looking for opportunities to break into the managed care space. It reportedly weighed entering a partnership with a private health insurer on a Medicaid managed care plan in Rhode Island. Under Medicaid managed care, insurers have a set dollar amount that they receive from the state. If they can administer their benefits more cheaply, they keep the savings. In other words, this would be a bet Verily can administer health insurance more efficiently.
- Uber: The ride-hailing company is going all in with Uber Health. It allows health care providers to book rides for their patients to and from their appointments. As The Verge reported this week: "The company is positioning itself as a cheaper and more reliable option than most non-emergency medical transportation," which is a $3 billion-a-year industry.
Source: Vox (view full article)