Big Tech isn’t going head-to-head with legacy digital health players—yet

The news: Big Tech players are pushing their way into healthcare with a wide range of tech solutions—but their current industry standing shouldn’t threaten legacy digital health companies in the near term, per a report from KLAS Research and Bain & Company.

Big Tech’s misaligned healthcare presence: Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and Google, and Salesforce are accelerating their healthcare ambitions. But they’re mostly developing solutions that don’t align with health systems’ most pressing needs.

  • Provider organizations’ top areas of software investment include revenue cycle management (RCM), patient intake, cybersecurity, clinical information systems, and telehealth, per the report’s findings.

For the most part, Big Tech’s healthcare-tailored solutions are for areas that providers aren’t keen on investing in over the next year.

  • Lower-priority investment areas for health systems are staffing, patient engagement, clinical communications, business analytics, and clinical decision support solutions, per KLAS.

For example, Salesforce’ CRM platform helps hospitals reach patients through various digital touchpoints. But patient engagement solutions received fewer top 5 votes than all but one category (staffing) when providers were asked to name their investment area of highest priority, the report found.

Investing in business analytics solutions is another low-priority area for providers, but this category is considered an industry strength of multiple Big Tech players, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle.

One noteworthy exception: Telehealth is a high-priority investment area for health systems and is a strength of several Big Tech companies.

  • Microsoft delivers telehealth through Teams.
  • Google’s Cloud capabilities power virtual care.
  • Amazon will soon shutter its Amazon Care arm, but will still deliver virtual care via One Medical.
  • And Salesforce offers Health Cloud.

Our take: Big Tech companies are not yet threatening incumbent digital health vendors in the areas that provider organizations most want to invest in.

But we expect those priority categories will continuously change over time. For instance, once this period of economic uncertainty is behind us, providers may not prioritize RCM solutions as highly. Conversely, they may place greater importance on patient engagement technology given the need to be more consumer focused.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.