Tech companies are going to continue to impact EHR use and how healthcare providers are adopting new technologies. Healthcare projects undertaken by top tech companies have been constantly rising every year pointing out their increasing interest.
Tech Giants like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have been making the movements around the healthcare investing in new kinds of technology which raises the question of their intention and what would be the ramifications for the healthcare industry.
They have always been viewed as sitting ducks for digital disruption and are ready to bring out new technologies to help streamline the healthcare industry with efficient and customer-centric solutions.
They have been accelerating their efforts to remake the healthcare industry through technology geared towards patients, physicians, clinical researchers, and insures.
Apple is focused on consumer-centric developments with health record integrations into Apple iOS, whereas, Microsoft is working on analytical tools and storage solutions for healthcare providers. And Google is steadily making ways into data processing and storage solutions.
Apple filed 54 patents for turning its iPhone into a medical device which will have the ability to monitor biometric data such as blood pressure and body fat levels and to develop algorithms to predict abnormal heart rates.
Apple has been working with Aetna since 2016 through personalized exercise and health tips to promote healthy behaviour by providing incentives.
Apple started off with a Health Mobile App moving on to the Apple Health Records system that would result in aggregated data and ease-off the flow of information between patient and physician.
To resolve the interoperability issue, Apple is working to develop a digital health platform which let patients view and update their records from their iPhones.
Apple Health Records allows users the ability to view patient-centered EHRs on iOS devices. Patients at participating hospitals and clinics can view their health data from multiple providers at any time.
Microsoft has filed 73 patents to expand it’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities and develop monitoring devices for chronic diseases.
Microsoft is ramping up its business in the healthcare industry using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create products with speech recognition where a virtual assistant takes notes during physician and patient conversation and sends a summary to the patient’s EHR.
Microsoft has acquired the web-based open source hosting service GitHub. The move could impact how healthcare organizations access and use healthcare open-source code.
Google has 186 patents and is focusing on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and research development.
Google has invested heavily in research and established a unit named Verily Life Sciences to develop new tools for collecting and analyzing health data. They launched a device called Verily Study Watch that has sensors to collect the data to use it for detailed analysis of the progression of diseases and prevention.
According to a patent application published by the U.S. Patent Office, Google might enter the Medical Space with its own EHR System and Analytics System.
This system has three distinct parts:
• Storage for aggregated EHR data from millions of patients
• Deep learning capabilities to analyze records in a standardized data format
• A configuration with a clinician-facing device to display the predicted clinical events, as well as the patient's relevant past medical history
Google has launched AMA Healthcare Interoperability and Innovation Challenge by partnering with the American Medical Association (AMA) to capture health data through wearable devices and applications, encouraging mobile health IT development. It will aid and increase health data sharing and improve patient care.
Google tried something similar to Microsoft a decade ago with Google Health but ended the service a few years later. However, Google got its patent which indicates that Google might be developing its own EHR system with analytics ability.
Google is also involved in the development of devices such as a spoon, named as Liftware Level, to help the individuals with restricted mobility to feed themselves. And glucose monitoring contact lenses for diabetics.
Google announced a cloud healthcare API to connect existing healthcare technologies to Google cloud for digital transformation.
These moves by three Tech Giants could effectively pressure EHR vendors to open up access to patients' digital records and force them to provide open APIs to their data.
"This creates a high-profile and instant demand for the EHRs to provide this information to patients," said John Kelly, principal business adviser for software firm Edifecs. "It's a way for the patient to become an agent of interoperability."
Apple, Google, and Microsoft are also focusing on the usability of the tools to make life easier for the physicians to eliminate the frustration and it is soon expected patients to have a simple and engaging technology.
Technology advancements in the healthcare sector providing physicians with clinical diagnoses and manage the health of the population determining the best actions would definitely lead to more efficient tools that will increase the quality of life and help save lives.
Despite the doubt of not understanding the healthcare industry fully, these big tech companies have the opportunity to revolutionize the industry. And the companies currently dominating the EHR market will be facing tough competition from them.
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