February 7, 2019

The Professional Disruptors

Technology startups continue to enter the healthcare space with innovative products and new thinking. While these companies have not yet changed the healthcare world, they have proven the industry is ripe for disruption, particularly for the right disruptors.

No longer able to ignore the opportunity of a multi-trillion dollar industry, tech giants like Amazon, Google and Apple are now fully committed to the healthcare space. Things will never be the same again.

Important to note is these companies don’t just enter a new industry, they redefine industries. They challenge and reset the status quo. They win in the marketplace by focusing on consumer needs unmet by current industry leaders, then leverage new technologies and macrotrends to deliver an improved customer experience second to none.

They are professional disruptors. It’s what they do for a living.


Empowering people to live a more fulfilling life through technology has driven Apple since the early days. Their unique ability to reshape complexity into simplicity is legendary. These core competencies are on full display as the Apple brand competes in healthcare.

The iPhone and Apple Watch are fast becoming tools to make self-managed care a reality. Apple Watch started with heart monitoring that included notifications for increased heart rates and irregular rhythms, as well as an ECG app that captures and records symptoms in real time – valuable for both consumers and providers in managing care.

Apple has developed more than 50 new patents to turn the iPhone into a medical device that can store an individual’s electronic health records directly on the phone, bypassing certain HIPAA constraints and opening opportunities for additional innovators using the App Store. The goal is to empower people to take a greater role in managing their overall health, particularly chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. Apple has already signed on more than 200 hospitals, health systems, and clinics to help launch the service.


Google is approaching healthcare similarly to how it approached other key initiatives, with massive action and seemingly little fear of failure (which they have had). From HIPAA-compliant cloud services to AI and genomics, Google leaves little doubt about their vision to “transform the way health information is organized and made useful.”

In addition to developing the next generation of healthcare related infrastructures, Google is connecting directly with the consumer through its Google Fit apps and has partnered with Fitbit, the leading wearable brand. Through this partnership, the firms intend to scale their businesses and encourage people to change their behaviors and improve their health through engaging experiences.


With their deep expertise in retail, logistics, AI, cloud computing and customer satisfaction, most experts believe, of all of the tech giants, Amazon has the largest capacity to disrupt the healthcare industry. Earlier last year, Amazon entered a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to lower healthcare costs for all three companies’ employees.

Amazon entered the direct-to-consumer pharmacy business through its acquisition of PillPack. PillPack presorts medications by day and time, improving daily drug compliance for the 50 percent of Americans who do not take their medication as prescribed.

Amazon’s push to make Alexa a relevant technology in healthcare is evident by a recent patent filing for “voice-based determination of physical and emotional characteristics of users.” This technology will allow Alexa to detect a cough or cold, prompting Alexa to possibly suggest a cold product or a physician appointment.

The Professional Disruptors
Illustrated by Johnny Utterback

How do these disruptions impact your brand?

Tech giants are shaping the future of healthcare by disrupting the status quo. This provides you with big opportunities, along with several challenges.

Each of these brands is exploring partnerships in one form or another on their journey into the industry. This gives your organization an opportunity to join forces with the most innovative companies in the world.

They are also among the most admired brands in the world. And therein lies your challenge. These companies are so well regarded because they have led the way with consumer satisfaction.

Google is often viewed as the most trusted source of information. Amazon is THE place to buy things. Alexa is already in your home. And Apple is already in your pocket.

As they become bigger players in the healthcare space, they will set new standards across the industry and expose those who are not living up to new consumer expectations. And while this may be painful for some brands as they try to keep up, the ultimate winner will be the healthcare consumer.

To read about each of the trends disrupting the health care industry, download the complete 2019 Health Care Marketing Trends Report.