This month’s Industry Influencer is Dawn Maroney
Tech and Retail Continue to Inch Into Healthcare Delivery
With the healthcare industry accounting for nearly 20% of the GDP, it holds great allure for non-healthcare companies seeking to expand their revenue streams. Profit margins in most healthcare sectors are generally lower compared to other industries. Additionally, the regulatory landscape and complex rules make it challenging for non-healthcare entities to make significant inroads. Despite the buzz surrounding big tech and retail companies venturing into healthcare, their actual impact has been relatively limited. However, these companies aim to improve patient experience, increase accessibility, and drive down costs in healthcare delivery.
Here are the top players.
How well do you think they will do? What kind of a difference do you think they will make?
- Amazon closed its One Medical deal in Feb. 2023 and likely look to acquire an insurer. They acquired PillPack, an online pharmacy, and introduced Amazon Care, a telemedicine service.
- Apple’s Sumbul Desai and Google’s Karen DeSalvo will keep making targeted moves.
- Apple’s health-related products like the Apple Watch and Health app empower individuals to monitor their health.
- Google and its subsidiary Verily have invested in various healthcare initiatives, including smart contact lenses and health studies.
- Walmart under Cheryl Pegus’s capable leadership will continue to march forward in retailing healthcare in rural healthcare.
- Walgreens Boots Alliance new president for healthcare, John Driscoll, will begin to move chess pieces of Walgreens Health, VillageMD, and CareCentrix. Walmart has established Walmart Health clinics, offers virtual doctor visits, and provides prescription delivery services.
- Microsoft is investing in healthcare AI and cloud computing solutions. CVS’s new president for healthcare, Amar Desai, will bring lessons he learned leading United Health Group’s Optum west region care delivery assets to a national scale through CVS’s Signify Health (NYSE: SFFY) acquisition. CVS Health is expanding MinuteClinic locations and launching digital health tools.
Dawn Maroney, CEO of Alignment Health Plan
and President of Markets of Alignment Health weighs in.
- Do you agree or disagree on specific points and why?
I generally agree with the assessment that non-health care companies, particularly technology and retail companies, will likely continue to move into the healthcare space. With a growing population and increased need for care access and delivery, the market demand is undoubtedly there.
That being said, I believe that addressing the complexities and silos within our healthcare system will be a huge undertaking that requires collaboration and coordination across both public and private sectors. No single company can tackle this challenge alone, so it will take a significant and sustained effort to make a real difference similar to what Alignment is setting out to accomplish.
While technology can help streamline care delivery and reduce administrative burdens, it is important not to overlook the importance of human interaction and emotional support in patient care. Technologies should not replace high-touch, quality care. Quality providers and strong doctor-patient relationships are crucial to achieving better health outcomes and patient satisfaction, particularly for more frail senior patients who may require more support. I believe it is important to balance technology with the human factor to ensure patients receive the best care possible. The goal is to keep the human touch in the health care business now and in the future.
- How does your organization plan to address this prediction?
Our organization’s core value is centered around treating every member as if they were family, and we believe that technology and compassionate care are key to providing seniors with the attention, care and service they deserve. One of our primary approaches to achieving this goal is through AVA®, Alignment’s integrated health experience platform. AVA has revolutionized senior care by improving clinical outcomes, alerting care teams to possible intervention needs, and using AI to fill care coordination gaps in a secure and efficient manner.
- Are there other trends agents and brokers should pay attention to?
We believe that agents and brokers should pay attention to the trend of big tech and retailers entering the health services space, as this will make healthcare more accessible to consumers and empower them in new ways. Consumers will increasingly seek health services that address their physical, social and emotional needs that are delivered in a way that is convenient and customized to their unique circumstances. At Alignment, we strive to create innovative products and benefits that support seniors’ mental, physical and emotional well-being, including companion care, grocery benefits and pet care.
To win consumer trust and remain competitive in this evolving industry, brands must find ways to deliver health care on demand while still providing high-quality, compassionate care. By continuing to monitor and adapt to these trends, agents and brokers can help bring these innovative solutions to more people and improve access to care for all.