The heavyweight corporate muscle behind the vision comes from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung, which have all launched e-health initiatives, mostly based around smartphones and wearables. Indeed, the fast-growing health care business would seem a natural next step for the tech giants. Technology, including the sort of high-volume digital technology inside smartphones, is playing an increasingly important role in health care. And billions of dollars are now being spent converting the paper-based charts that doctors have long used into modern digital records. Devices, digital data—that’s what these tech giants do. Why shouldn’t they do it in health care, too?
Well, start with the fact that Google’s, Microsoft’s, and Samsung’s initiatives have all been around for a couple of years, without any discernible impact on the market. Nevertheless, they’re now being joined by Apple. In connection with its new Apple Watch, the company has announced HealthKit, its own approach to aggregating information from various fitness devices. Apple is pushing HealthKit with a stylish, full-glitz marketing campaign, and its top executives are extolling it in high-profile forums. “We believe we’re just at the beginning of amazing new health and wellness solutions for our customers,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors during a recent conference call.
Can Apple succeed where its cohorts have—so far—struggled? It’s common in Silicon Valley these days to hear about the many ways that these new technologies are going to “disrupt” the world of health care. The problem is that most medical professionals aren’t buying in, arguing that there’s scant evidence that these consumer technologies will be of much use.
Many experts argue that the significant challenges facing the U.S. health care system, such as obesity, can’t be solved with apps and trackers. For all the excitement inside the technology world about wearable digital devices and personalized health data, many doctors regard these gadgets as toys for the well-off and fit. Like bestheadphonesbest reviews.
“Every new technology goes through a period of initial enthusiasm,” says Steven Ommen, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. “And then the daunting realities set in.”
The tech giants’ only hope would seem to be to find an entrée that enables them to gain a footing amid the harsh realities of the slow-moving health-data business, as well as the skepticism of doctors. In fact, and despite those obstacles, experiments on chronically ill people, notably patients with diabetes, have already shown that there are benefits from smartphone-based health monitoring. It’s a niche, at least, and it raises the question of whether the tech giants will stay interested long enough to try to parlay it into something larger.