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Tech companies are stepping into healthcare

The healthcare sector is both incredibly technological and surprisingly rudimentary. For instance, telemedicine has only existed for a couple of years. So, it makes sense to see more and more tech companies trying to reinvent a sector as significant as this one in both social and economic terms.

Although there are many ongoing attempts at improving pretty much every branch of medicine through technology, one of the most popular moves so far has been Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical for $3,800 million. For context: One Medical is an American company that owns a chain of primary care clinics across the country.

Amazon’s goal? To reinvent the doctor’s visit experience. According to Neil Lindsay, SVP of Amazon Health Services, “booking an appointment, waiting weeks or even months to be seen, taking time off work, driving to a clinic, finding a parking spot, waiting in the waiting room then the exam room for what is too often a rushed few minutes with a doctor, then making another trip to a pharmacy – we see lots of opportunities to improve the quality of the experience and give people back valuable time in their days.”

But there’s more to it: the company also offers 24-hour digital care, which immediately caught Amazon’s attention. Many experts agree that remote appointments will be the first contact point between patients and doctors in the future. This will enable healthcare professionals to assess whether patients must go through what Lindsay described.

And there are many other cases. CVS, for instance, recently bought Signify for $8,000 million after winning a battle against Amazon and Walgreens. Signify offers in-person and virtual patient care and uses big data analytics to enhance its services.

There’s no doubt that big tech companies will continue to step into the sector. Amazon, for example, is already working on a mental health support service. Although they are still developing the platform, we do know that the goal is to facilitate access to professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists.

The Chinese giant ByteDance has its own healthcare app, Xiaohe, which competes with Alibaba Health in online support, appointment booking, and well-being services. This market represents around $89,000 million each year and was significantly propelled by the measures against the pandemic.

ByteDance made a key move a couple of weeks ago. The company, which also created TikTok, the biggest social network today and the first from the East to conquer the West, acquired the most important private hospital chain in the country, Amcare Healthcare, for $1.5 billion.

No one knows how these companies will solve the issues faced by the healthcare industry, but it makes sense to see them attempt to do so. The sector definitely needs some work.

By Axel Marazzi

Axel is a journalist who specializes in technology and writes for media such as RED/ACCIÓN, Revista Anfibia, and collaborates with the Inter-American Development Bank. He has a newsletter, Observando, and a podcast, Idea Millonaria.

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