Aug 9, 2019

Health care's love-hate relationship with Big Tech

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Health care companies are trying to fend off tech giants with one hand while striking up partnerships with them with the other.

Between the lines: Whether health care companies love or hate big tech's encroachment into their territory is dependent on whether they stand to make or lose money should the tech companies succeed.

Driving the news: The feuds between Amazon's PillPack and established industry players like CVS, Walgreens and UnitedHealth have illustrated these major health companies' resistance to a new competitor.

  • CVS has sued to keep a former employee from working at PillPack, and just this week it was reported that Walgreens and CVS are fighting with PillPack over prescription transfers.
  • Surescripts, a company that allows prescriptions to be filled electronically, has recently asked the FBI to investigate allegations that one of its vendors illegally shared patients' medication histories with PillPack, as my colleague Bob Herman reported.
  • UnitedHealth has also sued to keep a former employee from working at Haven, another Amazon health care venture.

The other side: Also this week, CNBC reported that Eli Lilly is working with Apple to see whether health features on the iPhone and Apple Watch can be used to spot early signs of dementia.

  • And Alphabet, Amazon and Apple are all looking into services and tools to help people with diabetes manage their disease, CNBC also reported this week.

Yes, but: Technology itself can offer real value to patients and therefore to health care companies. But the tech industry’s desire to claim a piece of our ever-growing health care spending is an existential threat to the incumbent players.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to fewer than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.