COVID has sharply divided the world into haves and have nots. While some sectors have been decimated, others are riding the big wave up. FAMGA, needless to add, falls in the latter (there’s the small thing about antitrust that’s proving to be a dampner), but they sure are on the right end of the pandemic wave.
Now they’ve set their eyes on healthcare (they’d already entered the space earlier- now they’re all in).
In pre-pandemic times, tech was already making inroads into healthcare. COVID just gave it the big push it needed. And because Big Tech companies love to collect big data (and we’ve been hearing a lot about how they do it), they seized the healthcare opportunity in an effort to streamline and better healthcare services and, of course, to collect more data (for clinical decision making and research purposes). No surprise that cloud computing is expected to witness exponential growth in 2020, as it enables instant access to patient data..
The great upside is that the new technologies hold a lot of promise in transforming the health services delivery, which is the need of the hour. With telemedicine, artificial intelligence-enabled medical devices and electronic health records, the healthcare system can leverage highly efficient tools that have immense potential to improve patient care.
However, before we get into what the Big Five (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft) are doing healthcare, here’s a quick look at how the new technologies are making an impact in the sector.
Upgraded Diagnosis: Advanced computing tools help frontier warriors filter, sort and organize the huge flow of patients’ data and enable major health issues to surface much earlier. They also allows doctors, hospitals and health systems to sift through the vast data in their health database to accurately measure diagnostic errors, and then potentially reduce the chance of these errors recurring in the future.
Ease of Access: Wearable smart devices and mobile health applications have witnessed widespread adoption in the healthcare market. Simplified functioning and user-friendly features add to its charm. Smartphones are used as a practical health tool, enabling home-based monitoring and rudimentary vital checks. Some instances include wearable devices that are designed to continuously monitor body temperature, while some are designed for pregnant ladies which measures contractions when placed on stomach.
Advanced Personalised Care: Personalization is the way to go – big data, testing abilities and advanced technological innovations have not only made personalised treatments possible (for certain incurable genetic defects), but also helped in preventing symptoms of certain diseases. For instance, Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is used for the treatment of cancer and heart failures. CRISPR edit the genes that may cause cancer or increase the risks of heart failure.
More Accessible Services: Technologies like tele-health can play an essential role by connecting patients directly to doctors in faraway health facilities, providing a valuable link to the healthcare system without putting stress on already stressed healthcare infrastructure.