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Published On: Sun, Oct 11th, 2015

Google/Alphabet Is Showing A Significant Interest In Healthcare

The search engine giant Google has built a presence in a variety of industries and it’s now showing significant interest in the healthcare sector. The co-founders (now chiefs at the new company Alphabet) want to improve medical technology so that better solutions are available for intractable healthcare problems.

In the past year, the firm introduced a plan to map the biomarkers present in the human body and expand the health search feature to include more than 900 medical conditions. Now the Alphabet companies “Life Sciences” and “Calico” are increasingly focusing on healthcare, with Life Sciences already debuting diabetes as its area of focus. Both companies plan to more diseases in the future.

Alphabet wants to develop new services and products that are affordable and accessible nationwide. It could help pave the path to improved patient health. Re/code cited Cowen and Company’s report stating that a closer look at the healthcare efforts made by Google reveals that the firm is targeting large markets with a wide range of solutions, and even minor success could justify their recent investments.

Diabetes symptoms Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

Diabetes symptoms
Public domain image/Mikael Häggström

Life Sciences has also signed a deal with Dexcom to develop high-tech diabetic products, a $20 billion potential market according to the report. Analysts predicted multiple healthcare trends that align with areas Google is interested in. These trends include pay-for-value rather than fee-to-service, genome sequencing, and digitization of health data.

It’s not surprising to see why Alphabet/Google is targeting these areas, especially digitization of health data. AdvancedMD All-in-one medical software and other technological solutions showcase the potential in this area. The former, for instance, serves as a central hub for electronic health records, patient relationship management, practice management, medical reporting and business analytics. Aggressive analytics and powerful software are the outcome of technological advancements in this area.

A report titled “Healthcare Analytics/Medical Analytics Market” reveals that medical analytics market is expected to grow from $5.8 billion in 2015 to $18.7 billion in 2020. Stakeholders include startups, ACO (accountable care organizations), tech companies, research firms, and venture capitalists. The report also mentions “Google Ventures”, which is supporting 14 life science firms. Among these, some companies are focusing on individual physician practice via online technology and oncology data management.

Cowen analyst John Blackledge is of the opinion that a shift from Google to Alphabet is catalyzing a new wave of development because Alphabet is going to have a strong focus on health care from the start. He also said that they don’t have to own the healthcare industry, but the usage of their offerings by all involved parties will enable them to make a sizable profit. Alphabet is mainly interested in the following areas related to healthcare tech:

  • Compliancy services and products, such as miniscule sensors
  • Government collaboration to use healthcare data for innovation and research
  • Investments into innovative technologies via collaboration with universities and startups
  • Greater integration between sensor technology and business intelligence to detect and treat diseases early
  • Cloud-based services to enhance delivery of data and electronic health records
  • Central databases that allow for patient relationship management, practice management, medical billing, etc.

Healthcare remains an industry that hasn’t been disrupted by technology to a great extent, so there is a huge scope for companies like Google/Alphabet to explore this industry. The firm is taking steps in the right direction. 

Author: Ravi Kumarr Gupta

Diabetes

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