Apple and Amazon May Be Joining the Ranks of EHR Providers
Outside of the healthcare industry, few EHR providers are household names. While physicians, healthcare administrators, and other medical professionals can likely rattle off a number of providers—Kareo, PracticeFusion, or even InSync—the Average Joe or Josephine on the street would be lucky to name one. But what could happen if two of the biggest earning and well-known companies in the country—arguably, the world—were to jump into the EHR business? We may find out sooner rather than later what that level of disruption would look like, as both companies are rumored to be seriously considering a venture into the healthcare industry.
An Apple™ A Day
Apple’s move towards the healthcare industry is neither unprecedented nor surprising. Known the world over for their status as leaders of all things technological, they took their first steps into healthcare with their HealthKit application back in September of 2014. More recently, they’ve partnered with the Health Gorilla start-up, indicating a more decisive move is likely forthcoming. Health Gorilla is a “secure clinical network that helps connect doctors, vendors, and patients within a single, secure platform, creating a closed loop of communications to improve the quality of healthcare.” But what is the reasoning behind this partnership?
Apple is likely working with Health Gorilla to add diagnostic data to the universally popular iPhones and other Apple devices. The aim of this addition is to allow consumers to store clinical data on the iPhone and turn it into a “one-stop-shop” for relevant medical information. This would allow patients to simply present their iPhones to physicians with the click of an app, rather than relying on bulky printed information or transferring information from multiple devices. A successful implementation could easily shake up the EHR industry, which is already over-due for a disruptive event.
Amazon’s Plans to Explore Healthcare
According to CNBC, Amazon has started a secret lab at its Seattle headquarters to research the benefits of branching into the healthcare industry. EHRs and telemedicine are reportedly among their top priorities. Under the appropriate moniker of “1492”, the team is exploring the risks and rewards that the company could face should they introduce healthcare-related apps onto their existing devices. Potential developments are being considered across all of their available items, such as Echo and Dash Wand.
Not much more is known about Amazon’s timeline when it comes to actually releasing these healthcare applications—they’re less established in the industry than Apple—but with the recent hiring of professionals with top healthcare credentials, it’s likely they’re well on their way to reaching new horizons when it comes to healthcare.
However, despite the name power of these mega-brands, the likelihood of them stealing customers away from already well-established EHR providers is fairly slim, and would only be possible after a difficult and lengthy process.