Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Online Giants –Amazon, Apple, Google – Enter Healthcare Arena

It was the roar of the real, the crowd of the beasts in the arena.

Vincent Blasco –Ibanez (1867-1928) , Sangre y Arena(1908)

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, "The Man in the Arena," Speech delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris, 1910

When today’s online giants look at the reality of the health care arena, the lure of fixing a broken system must be irresistible.

The audience is there
– everyone gets sick or wants to take steps to prevent sickness.

The huge revenues are there
– the U.S. spends $ 3 trillion a year on health care.

The specific needs are there
– we spend $273 billion on health disease, $465 billion on diabetes – both preventable with the proper exercise and weight loss and diet.

The dysfunction is there
– it is widely acknowledged the U.S system is wasteful, inefficient, and inconvenient.

The consumer bases are there
– billions of people are already hooked into Apple, Amazon, and Google, which have established brands and are household names.

The technologies are there
– there are already 13,000 health wellness and monitoring apps. Apple is about to release it Apple I phone 6. Google has its Google Kit. Amazon is meeting with FDA officials about introducing computer programs to simplify, rationalize, and bill for health care.

The consumer appetite is there
- people are anxious to don wearable monitoring devices to check their blood constituents, their blood pressure, their steps each day, their heart rhythms and their physiological responses to exercise.

The fitness and wellness craze is there
. Millions are out there jogging, stretching, and sweating to ward off and delay the Grim Reaper.

So for each of the Internet titans, there is a there there. Let the battle for control of the arena begin.

Why not take advantage of the health care fervor for improvement and serve humankind in the process?

Doing well while doing good is an irresistible impulse. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s the American Way.

And patients and doctors are waiting for mobile technologies and telemedicine communications are there, thirsting to make health care more convenient, more accessible,simpler, more efficient, more flexible, less costly, and to achieve greater awareness of health needs and status and to forge stronger shared purposes between doctors and patients and more strategic relationships between the various sectors of the medical industrial complex.

In any event, the challenges for entering the arena and taming the health care beasts has got to be alluring for the entrepreneurial leaders of these online giants – Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Larry Page of Google.

Cook must be thinking, Apple can serve the patient and with an Apple app a day keep the doctor away.

Bezos must be thinking, Amazon can develop a plan to develop and warehouse products and simplify billing for billions of health care transaction.

Page must be thinking, we can produce more wearable devices like Google Glass and other products in our kit to make people fit.

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