Why would a phone maker, a search engine operator, and an e-commerce retailer want to get into the medical space? It doesn’t seem like it should happen, but it is – or at least that’s what these companies are saying.
The medical market is just too big to ignore. It’s worth trillions in the US alone, and it needs the innovation of some of the world’s best companies to improve it.
We’ve seen spillover from tech giants before into other areas. Amazon, for instance, isn’t just an online retailer but a space company too (if you include Blue Origin). Google doesn’t only provide search, but automotive technology also. And Apple says that it wants to start building cars at some point, though how that will pan out is anyone’s guess.
The big companies are all getting into the health space because it’s a very data-heavy industry. The more data that a device can collect about a patient, the better practitioners can understand the people they serve. Plus, many of the diseases the population suffers from today are all confirmed by changes in their blood chemistry – something which you could theoretically measure.
Continuous Diabetes Monitoring
Google has been working on measuring diabetes for many years now. The quintessentially Western disease is the result of diet and lifestyle factors and shows up as higher-than-normal blood sugar readings. Verily, one of Alphabet’s smaller bets is working on continuous monitoring software that will tell a patient when their blood sugar levels go out of bounds. It’s also looking at creating real-time software that will coach people whose blood sugar is too high, helping them bring it down.
Amazon is integrating blood sugar monitoring into its Alexa assistant. It wants to make it easy for people to obtain their blood sugar readings via their home assistants. And Apple is looking at integrating medical devices with its existing hardware, allowing people to monitor their health on their phone or Apple watch.
AI In The Detection Of Heart Disease
The reason these companies could sweep into the medical market over the next ten years has a lot to do with data. Up until recently, we didn’t have a good PE solution, but now AI-driven software is making it easier for doctors to detect pulmonary embolism.
The body creates the signals that it is not well, but interpreting them in real-time is a challenge. You need to collect vast quantities of data to identify many of our most common diseases and how they progress, but those data aren’t always easy to interpret.
The artificial intelligence services of these big tech companies will, therefore, prove vital. Medical suppliers need to infuse their products with algorithms that can sift through lots of data and find underlying patterns. Once they can do that, medical devices will become significantly more powerful.
There’s no doubt that once these companies get products out to market that the market itself will expand. Up until now, the options for consumers have not been particularly compelling. Health services on mobile devices, however, could change all that for the better.