During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. tech giants have quickly brought their innovations to the front lines.
Amazon, Apple and Google—companies that were already making headway in the $3.5 billion U.S. healthcare market—have pivoted to focus on technologies and services to battle the novel coronavirus.
These companies are rolling out health information technology at a blistering pace, according to a report from Forrester Research.
These efforts do face challenges as a majority of healthcare workers report they still view these companies as outsiders and don’t trust their healthcare ambitions, Forrester reports, based on a healthcare benchmark survey it conducted with the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society.
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Forrester Research senior analyst Jeff Becker looked at how the tech giants have shifted their innovation teams to focus on the health crisis and the lessons the healthcare industry can learn from these efforts.
In the last few years, Apple has focused on building health apps, launched the Health Records app for consumers and is pushing deeper into research with health studies like the Apple Heart Study.
The company rolled out the Apple Watch equipped with an electrocardiogram and developed three “kits” to help developers build health-related apps for the iPhone and Apple Watch.
Apple is generating healthcare revenue by compelling health insurers to subsidize the cost of the Apple Watch for members, according to Forrester.
Beginning in March, Apple pivoted to focus on innovations for COVID-19 response. The company partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the White House to bring symptom-checking technology to voice, mobile and web.
Apple also is partnering with Google to create a global contact-tracing infrastructure. They will build a Bluetooth-enabled contact-tracing application programming interface to help public health agencies contain the spread of COVID-19 once governments lift shelter-in-place orders.
This program faces uncertainty in the U.S., as cultural resistance to surveillance will limit consumer adoption, according to Becker.
“Should the government pressure Apple and Google to make this program mandatory, or opt-out, the ambitious project could quickly turn into a public relations nightmare,” Becker wrote.
On the enterprise front, Apple is leveraging its design and manufacturing acumen to address the global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). The company is now manufacturing face shields and reports that it will ship 1 million face masks per week, effective immediately.
Google focuses on differentiating its Google Cloud Platform through its best-in-class healthcare artificial intelligence research and the moonshot partnerships that its life sciences business, Verily, spearheads, according to Becker.
The company has hired several top healthcare leaders, including former Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, Geisinger CEO David Feinberg and former Department of Health and Human Services official Karen DeSalvo.
The tech giant has focused its COVID-19 response on providing communities with technology to help fight the virus outside of the hospital, such as hyperlocal analytics and drive-thru testing resources.
Source: Fierce Healthcare