Amazon, JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway are forming a joint venture aimed at improving healthcare whilst reducing costs. The proposed mergers promise a revolution that could radically change the current healthcare landscape and the relationships between healthcare providers and their patients. So why are such corporations betting big on healthcare?
Simple: Ownership of the healthcare consumer.
Digitalization and Healthcare Consumerism
Amazon, over the last few years, has reshaped the relationship between consumers and marketers, becoming the preferred destination for convenience. They already offer a wide range of over-the-counter drugs in their own health and wellness section and so going to selling prescription drugs is not a huge leap. However, applying the convenience aspect to the healthcare industry as a whole is far more of a leap... and a hugely profitable one.
So what changes will we see soon? With the convenience aspect in mind it is likely the first step is an option to order medication refills delivered to your doorstep (perhaps by a drone).
This is obviously a threat to many existing health systems are already taking measures to digitalize their relationships with consumers by bridging the same convenience gap. Virtual visits are becoming common place, ideal for the nightshifters and families
Data, analytics, digital
Technology is also enabling patient-generated health data (PGHD) from wear-ables with sensors detecting blood pressure, heart rate and glucose levels to be transmitted seamlessly into the patients electronic health record (EHR). The combined data is then analyzed for trends giving an insight into the most effective treatments and methods of treatment, enabling care teams to manage more effectively. The patient is still able to control the privacy of the data through an app with an e-consent process with an option to opt-in to participate in clinical studies relevant to them and also arrange blood donations.
Advancements are being driven by both healthcare consumerism and the state pushing health developments. The developments in wear-ables being interpreted by artificial intelligence (A.I) are yielding better outcomes and will continue to do so at exponential rate due to the way the technology progresses - constantly analyzing data whilst being fed more data with each passing data. We are in early stages of a new push toward patient-centered, consumer-directed care that is demonstrating strong growth potential - likely the reason for the merger.
We are also seeing a redistribution of how healthcare is provided. For example, CVS and Aetna are moving towards walk-in clinics rather than patients heading to the hospital for minor conditions, leaving hospitals with urgent care and maintenance.