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Big Tech’s dream of transforming health care is getting the scalpel


Big Tech hasn’t been shy about its dream of bulldozing the existing U.S. health care industry and, in its place, erecting some new system that has to be better because it’s designed by Silicon Valley.

What that new system is remains a mystery. And while all empires might fall eventually, it is nowhere near the end for the mighty and entrenched hospitals, drug manufacturers or insurers that have benefitted handsomely for decades by making the ecosystem as convoluted as possible.

Technology’s biggest names have all attempted, in one way or another, to upend the industry, promising that the holy combination of lines of code, a ton of data, the cloud and perhaps some wearable device will magically fix decades of dysfunction.

Now, perhaps humbled by the sluggish pace of improvement, Big Tech is trying a new, more classic strategy: buy consumer and professional brands well-known in narrower health care categories.

“Health care is not just a question of, can you have a better solution? It’s a question of consumer trust,” SVB Securities senior managing director Stephanie Davis told Protocol. With Big Tech, “there’s that ick factor.”

It is still very early in the whole effort to reimagine health care, a sector that badly needs […]

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