In the last five years, big tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet have been trying to gain a firm foothold in the digital health market. And there’s a simple explanation for this: the aging baby boomer and the rising cost of healthcare.
Wearable technology in combination with Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used to detect health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. AI is enabling doctors to perform robotic surgery with precision, reducing the risk of post-surgery complications. Surgeons are also routinely utilizing Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality during surgical procedure.
Last year, Microsoft launched Healthcare NExT, a new initiative aimed at transforming the healthcare sector by leveraging its existing AI work and Azure cloud resources, reports MicroSmallCap. Microsoft said its new service will help healthcare companies store patient data in the cloud and a Healthcare Bot service that will be integrated with Electronic Health Records. To facilitate this, the tech giant is integrating robots, voice recognition, and cognitive services into new collaborative healthcare applications.
In January, Verily, the life sciences division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, raised $1 billion from investors to support its healthcare projects beyond merely research. This funding should help Verily advance their ongoing projects in healthcare. Many of the projects on which the company is working are focused on research. One example of such project is a study being conducted in conjunction with Gilead Sciences–a research-based biopharmaceutical company–that aims to identify the genomic cause of inflammatory disease.
Many are wondering exactly what Amazon has up its sleeve when it comes to digital health. After signing an alliance with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway in late January to form a non-profit health care entity, the Ecommerce giant appears to be amassing a number of puzzle pie. The company hasn’t clearly explained its goals, but they include finding ways to lower health care costs and increase access to consumers, with a focus on technologies such as AI, mobile, and cloud computing.
Following in the footsteps of the big companies, several startups are about to disrupt healthcare in 2019. These include Virta Health, Helix, Omcare, Sensely, Pear therapeutics and more.
According to Mercom Capital Group, global venture capital funding in the digital healthcare market was almost $10 billion in 2018, an increase of $2.8 billion from the previous year. The speed at which tech firms are embracing digital health, we can expect to see funding figures continue to rise in the coming years.