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How Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are shaking up healthcare - and what it means for the future of the industry

- The US spends over $3 trillion annually in healthcare costs - but providers can't keep up with growing demand.
- Health organizations are increasingly turning to tech companies to transform delivery of care and lower health expenditures.
- Seeing an opportunity to tap into the lucrative healthcare market, four of the largest US tech companies - Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft - are accelerating their health-focused efforts.
Healthcare disruption is no longer looming - it's here, and it's necessary. As the population continues aging, health organizations and providers are struggling to keep up with growing demand for care, while consumers are facing astronomical costs - often for subpar service.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), healthcare spending in the US has already surpassed $3 trillion annually - a figure expected to grow another 5% this year.

Desperate for ways to cut costs and improve accessibility of patient care, traditional healthcare providers are turning to tech innovations for help. In the last five years alone, healthcare funding among the 10 largest US tech companies jumped from $277 million to $2.7 billion.

New technologies including telehealth, wearables, mobile apps, and AI are facilitating a shift towards preventative medicine and value-based care, in turn reducing claims, improving benefits plans, lowering patients' premiums, and increasing their lifetime value.

Now, four of the biggest tech companies are ramping up to go all-in on healthcare - but they're each tackling a different part of the space. Here are the four big tech players shaking up healthcare, and what they're focusing on:

Alphabet: The parent company of Google, Waymo, and a number of subsidiaries is leveraging its extensive cloud platform and data analytics capabilities to hone in on trends in population health. The company plans drive more strategic health system partnerships by identifying issues with electronic health record (EHR) interoperability and currently limited computing infrastructure.

Amazon: The e-commerce giant's recent acquisition of PillPack is another step towards integrating medical supplies and pharmaceuticals into its platform and distribution. The company is also ramping up its AI capabilities to transform Alexa into an in-home health concierge, thereby driving consumers to the website for prescriptions and basic medical supplies.

Apple: The pioneer of smartphones and wearables, Apple is looking to turn its popular consumer products into powerful healthcare tools - with monitoring capabilities that benefit both patients and providers.

Microsoft: Like Alphabet, Microsoft is leveraging its robust data and analytics capabilities for visibility into population health. The company is tapping into Azure, its intelligent cloud service, to enable providers and payers to target specific pockets of populations with precision medicine for better health outcomes.

Courtesy: How Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are shaking up healthcare - and what it means for the future of the industry.

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