Tech Giants Are Branching Into The Medical Field

Jason Cooley is Support Services Manager for Tech Experts.

In early 2018, Amazon announced a partnership with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway to restructure healthcare for its combined 1.2 million employees.

This partnership between juggernauts is a stepping stone for Amazon, who has many irons in the fire when it comes to healthcare.

Already, Amazon has been selling medical supplies and equipment. Using partnerships with some of the largest distributors in the U.S., they are making headway and have applied or been approved for all state-by-state licenses needed.

They have also been working on AWS, which is Amazon’s cloud business, to compete with Microsoft Azure and Alphabet’s Google Cloud to provide cloud-based solutions for medical practices and health start-ups.

Amazon’s most exciting prospect in the health field may be Alexa. Amazon’s Alexa has quickly become one of the most used, highest rated, and most reliable voice assistants out there. Amazon has started a partnership with Merck to award $125,000 to the best use of Alexa to battle diabetes.

The idea is exciting, but maybe not as exciting as hospitals experimenting with Alexa. Surgeons may use Alexa to create checklists and sharing important information with discharged patients.

We may see a day where Alexa is the tie-in to our appointments with doctors. Imagine having a digital visit set up by Alexa, using a camera to interface with your doctor, and having Alexa capable of sending your prescriptions to the pharmacy.

The possibilities are endless and Amazon knows that. They are dedicating a lot of time an effort to streamline health services – making a nice profit, but also saving money for the average consumer.

While Amazon has an interesting path and a widespread take on where it can make a difference, Apple is also making some headway.

Apple has started beta use of its health record system. Apple utilizes FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) in the health record app.

FHIR is technology being used across the country in an attempt to make interoperability and cooperation the standard in healthcare.

First discussed back in 2013, Apple has been working hard to make its own mark. In 2016, Apple acquired Gliimpse, a personal health record company. Apple has used that software, along with FHIR to build out their system.

In 2018, they added EMR data into the phone’s health record and shortly after announced their API would be available to third parties to work on applications that would tie-in with health records.

This has allowed patients to transfer their records to their phone and allows other apps to use that data as well.

Games like Pokemon Go and Oscar utilize the step tracker built in to health records. A restaurant chain called Sweetgreen logs meals ordered into the health record.

Continued use could create endless possibilities for managing our own health.

More than 120 different healthcare companies are part of the beta testing for Apple’s health record.

Much like Amazon, Apple’s ambition does not stop there. Apple also has a similar trajectory to that of Amazon. They believe in a day where there is Telemedicine, virtual appointments, and health information at your fingertips.

These two aren’t the only ones trying to get in on the healthcare game. Of course, tech giant Google is also working on being a large part of future medical developments. Tech and healthcare are both evolving and it appears like they will be on the trip together.

Advice For Small Business Owners Overwhelmed By Technology

Scott Blake is a Senior Network Engineer with Tech Experts.

A recent study by Brother International Corporation and SCORE found that 64 percent of small business owners feel overwhelmed when it comes to technology, because they have limited resources in information technology (IT).

Surprisingly, this isn’t related to a lack of financial resources, but rather this is due to the fact that many of them do not have the proper technological guidance.

Most of them have no dedicated IT support, and 59% of the survey participants said there are insufficient resources available in small business communities to help them.

Keeping pace with tech trends
According to the study, mobile devices are the most important piece of technology for their businesses, because mobile technology allows for easy and quick reach as well as easy access to documents, regardless of where they are.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM), social media and cloud services are also among the tech tools that small business owners find necessary in running their businesses. Forty nine percent (49%) of business owners consider tech-related investments as their top priority.

However, about half of them are hesitant to invest in it too quickly without a good ROI (return on investment), while the other half are concerned that failing to invest in technology gives their competitors an advantage.

c845014_mSolutions
Outsourcing IT is one alternative for small businesses to take advantage of technology without heavily investing in it.

Social media is also a convenient tool that many IT service providers use to provide tech support to their clients, while office technology products are becoming more user-friendly.

Another important step that small businesses must take as far as IT is concerned is to identify and outline their business processes.

This makes it easier to sort through the best technology to meet their business needs. It also eliminates the frustration experienced at the endless pitches small business owners get from vendors and solution providers that do not even understand their business goals.

Recommendations
When you understand your business processes, you can easily determine the technology that you need or don’t need.

Take advantage of the tools available to help you understand the channels that are driving your business, including apps like Google Analytics. Finally, when using consumer apps for your business, go for the business options as they usually offer more security options and tech support.

(Image Source: iCLIPART)