In my previous blog, I discussed Apple’s plans to move further into the healthcare realm with the release of an update to their Health application. Health already proved it was convenient for Apple users because it compiled data from various applications into a single, centralized location for easy data tracking and software integration. However, Apple recently took its healthcare efforts one step further by implementing a feature in its Health application allowing users to maintain their medical records and associated information on their devices.
This development began its beta testing at the end of January with roughly a dozen hospitals around the country that had established patient portals in place. When a patient uses the application, essential data, such as prescribed medications, chronic medical conditions and more, can be accessed 24/7. Combined with its ability to seamlessly integrate with Fitbits and exercise tracking applications, Health will prove useful to patients who have an interest in becoming more invested and active in their healthcare.
Writers from USA Today, CNET, SELF, and more have lauded Apple’s update. Though Apple dominated the headlines on the day of their announcement, the spotlight wasn’t on them for long. Days later, Amazon announced a plan to get into the healthcare realm as well — and not alone.
January 30, 2018 – New Players Disrupt the Healthcare Environment
Spearheaded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, these three companies have banded together to cut healthcare costs and enhance services for their combined 1.1 million U.S. employees. Their overall goal is to create an employee healthcare system that’s “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”
Though the announcement came with few details, it didn’t prevent stock prices of other healthcare companies like UnitedHealth and CVS from falling. If healthcare investors were reacting with trepidation to the announcement, did Apple’s executives feel the same? How was this going to affect their strategy?
February 26, 2018 – Refining the Plan
About a month later, Warren Buffett sat down with CNBC to provide additional information about the recent announcement. The two main takeaways from the interview were (1) the companies’ shared interest in exploring ways to curb healthcare costs by employing strategies other than negotiating power, and (2) their mutual interest in opening the innovative opportunity to other companies and consumers at some future date.
February 27, 2018 – Apple Responds
A day later, Apple released information about its forthcoming healthcare plan that looks similar in some respects to the Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JPMorgan plan. Apple announced plans to launch medical clinics for their employees and families. In addition, Apple hopes to expand the clinics to the public as well at some future date.
As with much of healthcare today, there is one common denominator of these announcements, namely disruption. Individuals, companies and healthcare systems continue to pursue groundbreaking advances in order to drive access, value, quality and convenience. What else do these and other organizations have on the horizon? Stay tuned for future updates.