With new, disruptive entrants coming into the healthcare market, which company is poised to have the biggest impact on healthcare? The majority of C-suite leaders have their eyes on Amazon to shake up healthcare, according to a recent survey of healthcare C-level executive leaders.
Reaction Data, a market research firm focused on the healthcare and life sciences industries, surveyed about 100 healthcare organization leaders on which companies will have the biggest impact on healthcare, and why for its recently published report on healthcare disruption and the future of the healthcare market. The report also looks at emerging technologies and healthcare organizations’ future technology plans.
About 80 percent of the healthcare leaders surveyed are C-level executive leaders—27 percent CEOs, 17 percent CIOs, 17 percent chief nursing officer (CNOs), 17 percent CFOs and 7 percent revenue cycle management directors. Almost half of the respondents were from hospitals.
According to the survey, 59 percent of provider organization leaders think Amazon will be the most disruptive, with 75 percent of CEO respondents choosing Amazon as having the most potential for real disruption. Fourteen percent of respondents cited Apple, 8 percent selected Google, 7 percent chose Microsoft, 4 percent said IBM, 3 percent cited Walmart and less than 3 percent said Salesforce.
The report cites one CEO’s comment: “[Amazon has] visionary leadership and the ability to make the change happen.”
The report also breaks down the number of comments each vendor received per attribute, with 14 attributes such as “name recognition,” “ability to commodify,” “progressive/innovative,” “predictive analytics,” and “affordable.” Amazon received the most comments and, based on those comments, appears to have the most diverse attributes, according to the report, as respondents cited the company for all 14 attributes.
Amazon has made several moves into the healthcare space, including its acquisition of PillPack, an online pharmacy startup, back in June. Earlier this year, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced that they were launching an initiative to improve satisfaction and reduce costs for their companies’ employees. Details of that joint venture have been vague, but experts have pointed to reducing healthcare fraud and administrative costs as key areas that the companies will focus on.
The report also summarizes the work underway at Apple, Google and Microsoft, including Apple and Google’s ongoing efforts to develop their devices and apps and continued development of artificial intelligence (AI); Microsoft’s work with St. Jude Children’s Research on genomics and advancing cloud and AI and IBM’s work in cloud, encryption and data mining. Salesforce allows providers to utilize its cloud CRM tool to manage patients and store data.
Reaction Data also surveyed respondents on emerging technologies, and 29 percent cited telemedicine as a technology that will have the biggest impact, although telemedicine has been around for decades. Twenty percent of respondents cited AI. Only 2 percent cited blockchain, despite all the buzz that technology has been generating. Combined, virtual services/telehealth and AI accounted for almost half of the responses. What’s more, 15 percent cited interoperability, 13 percent selected data analytics, 11 percent cited mobile data and 7 percent said information security. Cloud was cited by 3 percent of respondents.
The number one use case for telemedicine is reaching patients who live in rural areas, according to a quarter of respondents, with the same percentage citing “follow up care” and “managing specific patient populations.”
With regard to AI and machine learning, the vast majorty, 65 percent, of respondents said the technology was “important” and 16 percent said it was not important; 19 percent were neutral. However, while providers clearly see the technology as important, more than half of respondents (53 percent) are at least a year away from adopting it, and many are three years away from adoption. Twenty-eight percent said they plan to adopt AI in one to two years, while 25 percent said they are 3-plus years away from adopting the technology. What’s more, 15 percent have no plans to utilize AI. Fourteen percent of respondents said their organization has been using AI for a while, 11 percent plan to adopt the technology in the next year and 7 percent have adopted some AI.
Breast imaging is by far the main use case for AI, according to the report, with three-quarters of respondents citing this area for AI adoption. The report also breaks down what providers are looking for in AI technology—convenience (33 percent); interoperability (27 percent); technology (18 percent); predictive analytics (11 percent); affordability (5 percent) and progressive/innovative (2 percent).
The report also looks at business trends in healthcare, noting that there have been dozens of mergers and acquisitions recently. These include provider/provider, vendor/vendor, and payer/payer relationships. Now the lines are being blurred as entities are crisscrossing into new spaces. “Examples include CVS acquiring Aetna, Optum purchasing Advisory Board, PinnacleHealth getting picked up by UPMC, Walgreens partnering with NewYork-Presbyterian, Apollo buying LifePoint Health and merging it with RCCH HealthCare Partners, and many others,” the report states.
The survey also gauged healthcare provider organizations’ acquisition plans. While 61 percent said they plan to remain independent, the survey found that 39 percent of provider organizations are currently planning to either acquire other organization, execute a merger, or sell to a larger organization, which points to a dynamic market becoming even more in flux.
“The impacts to the vendors who sell to these organizations, to the payers who negotiate with them, to the care providers who work for them, and to the patients who are treated by them, could be significant. It isn’t an overstatement to say that it is critical to keep a very close watch on this market dynamic,” the report states.
With a significant percentage of organizations planning to change their ownership structure and make-up in the next few years, along with organizations adopting new technologies, and with new entrants moving in, it appears that there will numerous forces at work to shake up healthcare soon.