Big Tech Expands Footprint in Health

by  Melanie Evans and Laura Stevens, The Wall Street Journal

Major technology companies are making inroads into the healthcare market, with Amazon selling software that analyzes medical records for information physicians and hospitals could use to improve patient care. Meanwhile, Apple is negotiating with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on software to allow veterans to transfer their health records to iPhones.

The healthcare industry is a natural target for tech companies looking for new revenue channels amid digitization of patient records and pressure to cut medical costs without sacrificing care quality.

However, medical record analysis is beset by technical challenges, with the University of California, San Francisco’s Julia Adler-Milstein citing algorithms’ difficulty identifying key data points because of misspellings, abbreviations, and doctors’ idiosyncratic descriptions. According to Amazon, developers trained its data analytics software with deep learning to recognize how a doctor might record notes, and it demonstrated equal or better performance than other published initiatives.  The full report

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