Google’s Plan to Take Over Your Health Care
- A recent survey of U.S. adults found that 34% use health apps.
- Google has a three-pronged approach to tackle the health care industry.
- The $3.5 trillion U.S. health care market is ripe for disruption. Here’s why…
I’ve turned into a biohacker lately.
“Biohacking” is a broad term that covers the new practice of changing one’s physiology through science and analytics.
It’s becoming increasingly popular, as there are gadgets that can be paired with mobile apps literally at your fingertips.
I wear a Whoop band on my wrist 24/7. This device measures things such as my pulse and heart rate variability, but the app also updates me on my exercise and recovery cycle. It tells me how much sleep I need to be fully rested. (I rarely hit the eight-hour target.)
I wear my Apple Watch when I run, cycle, swim or kayak.
An app called Strava tracks my distance and speed. It also lets me know if I’m getting faster at the specific activity and shares my workout info with friends.
I recently downloaded an app called Kaia, which offers daily personalized exercises for chronic back pain. Kaia reminds me every morning, lest I forget.
I subscribe to an app called Headspace that offers daily guided meditation. But between trying to get extra sleep and keeping up with my fitness, I don’t find enough space for my head most days.
And I’m not the only one tracking my health.
A recent survey of 2,201 U.S. adults found that 34% use health apps, mostly for monitoring heart rate and exercise.
Another 27% use fitness and wellness wearable technology, such as my aforementioned Whoop band and Apple Watch.
This is remarkable. Nearly one-third of U.S. adults are using devices that didn’t even exist 10 years ago.
Like me, they’re saving personalized health data to the cloud. And this data will be the next treasure trove of information for Big Tech.
In the past few weeks, one of the world’s biggest tech companies revealed its road map for disrupting the $3.5 trillion U.S. health care industry.
Google Is Investing in the Future
Twenty-one years ago, Stanford University students Sergey Brin and Larry Page scripted a computer code that changed the world.
Their company, Google, changed the way we search for and find information online by ranking a website’s relevance by the number of pages that link to the site.
While other search engines have attempted to thwart Google’s dominance, its very name is now a verb, giving it an insurmountable advantage.
Google’s success has turned once-struggling grad students Brin and Page into billionaires.
They’ve used their fortunes to invest in the future with projects such as delivery drones, self-driving cars and hovering balloons that deliver the internet all over the globe.
But they may have just tipped their hand on their most audacious project yet.
Big Tech Meets the Health Care Industry
In a report on artificial intelligence (AI), CB Insights describes Google’s three-pronged approach to tackling the health care industry:
- Data generation. This includes digitizing and ingesting data produced by wearables, imaging and MRIs, among other methods. This data stream is critical to AI-driven anomaly detection.
- Disease detection. Using AI to detect anomalies in a given dataset that might signal the presence of some disease.
- Disease/lifestyle management. These tools help people who have been diagnosed with a disease or are at risk of developing one go about their day-to-day lives and make positive lifestyle modifications.
To this extent, the Wall Street Journal recently reported on Google’s secretive “Project Nightingale.”
Last year, the company started gathering data from Ascension, a chain of 2,600 hospitals, doctors’ offices and other facilities.
According to internal documents, the health data included lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records. Google was also able to obtain complete health histories, including patient names and dates of birth.
Google is using this data to train its AI algorithms to determine better means of care, which may include new treatment plans or replacing current doctors.
But that’s not its only play into health care. Google wants access to your data before you even get to the hospital.
This Is a No-Brainer for Google
Two weeks ago, the company scooped up struggling wearable-maker Fitbit for $2.1 billion in cash.
This is a no-brainer for Google.
It doesn’t have any products to compete with the Apple Watch and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch. Meanwhile, wearable revenue is expected to double to $34 billion by 2023.
It’s not really the Fitbit devices that Google is after, though.
It’s after the lucrative partnerships with health insurance companies, which often offer discounted insurance in exchange for customers wearing Fitbit trackers to monitor their health.
The Health Care Market Is Ripe for Disruption
The $3.5 trillion U.S. health care market accounted for 17.8% of the gross domestic product in 2018. It’s ripe for disruption.
Biohackers like me want more control of our health and vitality.
And Big Tech companies such as Google are willing to help us analyze and execute on that health information, in the same way Google optimized searching for information online.
This is going to massively disrupt the health care industry in the next decade.
But it won’t stop there. As industries from health care to AI to the Internet of Things all churn out data — from our sleeping patterns to how often we order groceries — data analysis techniques are going to have to be standardized and coordinated.
As a result, the data analytics industry could explode 18,767% in the next few years. And there’s one little-known California company that’s able to take all that crude data and turn it into pure gold.
To learn more, watch my special presentation here.
Editor, Automatic Fortunes
P.S. If you want to learn more about Big Data, you can read all about it in my Automatic Fortunes newsletter.