Day 12: Drummers Drumming

We have come to our final day our 12 Days of Christmas Posts this year. It is always good to reflect back and look to the future. It is always amazing how fast the year gets away from you. It seemed like there was a steady beat of the drum in the background all year when it came to healthcare. This year healthcare was talked about, fought about, debated about, and stumped about. It seems like the same old story since we began this HITECH journey. But this year was a little different. While the last decade for us has been about technology changing healthcare this year has had a big story about big tech moving into health care. And unlike previous years with them dipping their toes in to test the water, it was more like who can do the best cannonball. Here are the twelve months of 2018 with something that was reported on big tech and their quest in healthcare.

In January Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) announced that they were partnering on ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs. The three companies, which bring their scale and complementary expertise to this long-term effort, will pursue this objective through an independent company that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints. The initial focus of the new company will be on technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.

While Microsoft closes down their Healthvault project they don’t leave healthcare behind.

In February, Apple announces it was launching clinics to deliver the ‘world’s best health care experience’ to its employees. Under the name of AC Wellness, the website touts, “We believe that having trusting, accessible relationships with our patients, enabled by technology, promotes high-quality care and a unique patient experience.”

In March Uber Health was introduced, removing transportation as a barrier to care. The dashboard allows healthcare professionals to order rides for patients going to and from the care they need, along with an n Uber Health API to enable easy integrations into existing healthcare products.

In April, Oracle Health Sciences releases its new mHealth Connector Cloud Service that will enable clinical study teams to remotely collect e-Source data from patient sensors, wearables and apps during their clinical trials, all while delivering a new level of patient engagement and centricity.

In May, Amazon is reported to be building a team to work on healthcare and Alexa. While Alexa is a voice assistant, goals are to be able to ask how things look to assist in health issues.

In June, although Dell Medical School has had a graduating class, the school welcomed the third class along with adding prestigious faculty expanding the UT Health Austin clinics, creating new health products, and working in the community to improve public health outside the doctor’s office.

In July Atul Gawande starts first day as CEO of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan health venture. All eyes are on surgeon and best selling author to disrupt the current system while there is no shortage of critics that he is not the person to do it.

Meanwhile Microsoft teams up with Duke on a new research partnership that will result in the tech giant creating an “innovation hub” at the recently-overhauled Chesterfield building in downtown Durham.

In August, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, IBM, Oracle, and Salesforce issue joint statement for healthcare interoperability. They announced their intentions at the CMS Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference.

In September, Jack Stoddard, who most recently served as general manager for digital health at Comcast, was announced as the COO for Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan venture.

In October, IBM makes major moves to regain an unimpressive year with bad media on Watson Health. The division head for Watson Health steps down. They acquire Red Hat and move the cognitive services to a hybrid cloud model. They say this puts them in position with Google and Amazon cloud services.

In November, Apple Inc. began discussions with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide portable electronic health records to military veterans, a partnership that would simplify patients’ hospital visits and allow the technology giant to tap millions of new customers.

CEO Dr. David Feinberg leaves Geisinger Health joining a new role at Google, signaling another try at the $3.5 trillion healthcare industry.

In December, Wallgreens and Alphabet’s Verily partner to improve health outcomes and lower the cost of medical care, particularly for patients with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Until next year, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.