How Big Tech Is Going After Your Health Care

Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 29/12/2017 12:12

When Daniel Poston, a second-year medical student in Manhattan, opened the App Store on his iPhone a couple of weeks ago, he was astonished to see an app for a new heart study prominently featured.

People often learn about new research studies through in-person conversations with their doctors. But not only did this study, run by Stanford University, use a smartphone to recruit consumers, it was financed by Apple. And it involved using an app on the Apple Watch to try to identify irregular heart rhythms.

Intrigued, Mr. Poston, who already owned an Apple Watch, registered for the heart study right away. Then he took to Twitter to encourage others to do likewise — suggesting that it was part of a breakthrough in health care.

“It’s not inconceivable, by the time I graduate from medical school,” Mr. Poston said, “that the entire practice of medicine can be revolutionized by technology.”

Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants have transformed the way billions of us communicate, shop, socialize and work. Now, as consumers, medical centers and insurers increasingly embrace health-tracking apps, tech companies want a bigger share of the more than $3 trillion spent annually on health care in the United States, too. The Apple Heart Study reflects that intensified effort.

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