On Monday, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced that it’s acquiring health care company Nuance Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN) in a $19.7 billion deal.
This is Microsoft’s biggest acquisition since it bought LinkedIn in 2015 for $26.2 billion. And it shows that the tech giant is serious about competing in the health care industry.
Nuance’s artificial intelligence and speech-recognition software makes it easier for doctors and nurses to update patients’ electronic health records.
That means they can spend less time manually entering data and more time helping patients.
Nuance’s time-saving services are already used in 77% of U.S. hospitals. But there’s a much bigger opportunity ahead.
The global health care market is expected to grow to nearly $12 trillion by 2022, according to ResearchandMarkets.com. And it’s ripe for disruption.
Here’s how America’s biggest tech companies are already starting to take over the health care industry…
Health Care 2.0
Before Microsoft acquired Nuance, it had made ground in the health care industry with its Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare service.
This software is designed to help coordinate care and improve efficiency while protecting patients’ sensitive health data.
Meanwhile, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) bought PillPack in 2019 for $753 million. The online pharmacy simplifies medications by sorting them into “packs” with the date and time labeled.
Amazon also plans to roll out Amazon Care across the U.S. this summer.
This telehealth app uses chat and video to connect patients with doctors and nurses. It can also be used to order prescriptions or schedule house calls.
Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL), the parent company of Google, paid $2 billion for Fitbit in 2019.
The company makes smartwatches and fitness trackers that monitor exercise, heart rate, sleep patterns, stress levels and more.
The Google Fit health app is a free download on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. It tracks your workouts and helps you monitor your progress toward your fitness goals.
Lastly, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has a free Health app on its iPhone and iPod touch. The app comes with a Health Records feature that organizes all your medical information for you.
Apple has bigger plans for health care products, but CEO Tim Cook isn’t ready to share many details yet.
He did say, though: “I really believe that if you zoom out to the future and then look back and ask, ‘What has Apple’s greatest contribution been?’ it will be in the health and wellness area.”
A New Era in Technology
These are just a few examples of how artificial intelligence, cloud computing, telemedicine and other technologies are ushering in a new era of health care.
And this transformation isn’t just happening in health care. We’re seeing huge growth potential right now in many industries across the country.
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Assistant Managing Editor, Banyan Hill Publishing