Debating Big Tech in Healthcare

Consumer role in US economy

U.S. economy is controlled almost seventy percent by consumers and when you grab them by their pocketbooks their hearts and minds will follow. In a consumer society, there exists two parallel universe: haves and should-haves. The changing dynamics of consumerism has been the focus of technology debate and its impact within the healthcare system.

As consumers play a much active role in addressing their own healthcare needs, they increasingly expect the same convenience and efficiency gained from their health care system technology experiences with other consumer-centric industries.

Advancements in healthcare technology – benefits for today’s healthcare?

Due to technological advancement, the medical field has not been same as it was some ten years ago. We hear about medical discoveries regarding treatments, symptoms and disease research, cure research, data collection, and also new technological breakthroughs and innovations.

With the realization that the healthcare industry is increasingly looking to more businesses for ideas on how to meet consumers on their terms, it has thus emerged as a market industry willing to pay enormous amounts of money, particularly for high standard equipment and medical research.

In fact, the core mission of big tech firms is to sell software and hardware in as many different sectors of the economy and to as many consumers imaginable. What is more? Healthcare is seen as the ultimate opportunity and the big tech firms are striking gold selling their core products like Apple Watch, Health Apps, A.I. Cloud Computing, Microsoft Teams, Azure IoT, Healthcare Bot etc.

So, what is the biggest reason big tech companies are not succeeding in promoting technology and consumerism in healthcare? Engaging consumers in their healthcare experience is one thing but allowing technology to take over healthcare often put patients’ data at risk of being infiltrated or getting in wrong hands.

Stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem unanimously concede big tech should be defending the data, helping make data more secure, and providing full transparency and collaboration across diverse, distributed and highly fragmented healthcare systems.

Technology as a threat to privacy

Consumer concerns about privacy and security can also accentuate the diversity among users. If Apple, Google, Microsoft, or Amazon can make millions of subscribers’ information searchable, what will prevent any of them from making health records, prescriptions, testing results or clinical information accessible in one specific location? We may be putting more in the hands of consumers, but we are also putting our data in the hands of big techs. Is this in violation of cyber security?

A recent survey says about 11% of consumers are still willing to share health information with a tech company1.  Can big tech companies and technology companies deliver that competitiveness in today’s economic system?

Healthcare consumers’ relationship with their physicians or providers is highly influenced by trust and value. But this decade-long and generational trust-building investment that explicitly define this harmonious relationship has been met with grim resentments. No thanks to big tech firms getting into the business of healthcare services.

The only common denominator in all of these is technology. The perception that big tech is always seeking to own, exploit and mine data has resulted in significant levels of mistrust between healthcare providers and patients.

Do you view technology and healthcare as threats or opportunities or feel you are under surveillance as a direct user of health applications? Do the potential benefits of the increased use of health applications outweigh the risks? Does big tech really care about delivering care efficiently and improving outcomes or just their own algorithms?

Source: Rock Health Digital Health Consumer Adoption Survey, 2019.



Solari is an author and a content writer for ifocurs, the most-advanced digital media platform for the most diverse, most online, and most socially engaged audience in modern times. When she is not working, she enjoys travel adventures, photography, and reading literary masterpieces. She is an influencer marketing consultant; a keynote speaker, mom, and writer.

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