Technology has been a driving force behind improvements in healthcare this year. The evolution of AI technology is enabling quick and accurate diagnosis of a wide array of ailments including strokes, eye problems, heart diseases and cancer.
Moreover, rapid adoption of health monitoring devices and wearable fitness trackers is aiding doctors and care-givers in providing efficient patient management at a lower cost. Given this upbeat scenario, tech giants including Alphabet GOOGL, Amazon AMZN, Apple ( AAPL Quick Quote AAPL - Free Report) , Microsoft MSFT and International Business Machines IBM are making every effort to reap maximum benefits from this industry. Alphabet’s Aggressive Investment Plans Alphabet is continuously taking up initiatives to bolster footprint in the healthcare industry. The company’s life science division, Verily, reportedly intends to expand its Dayton-based OneFifteen addiction center, which was established earlier this year. The company employs a data-driven approach to treat patients with opioid use disorder at the center that offers both inpatient and outpatient services. Verily is now looking to add another 5,000-square-foot to the outpatient clinic and invest $5 million in the project. Moreover, the company strives to expand the inpatient withdrawal management space in order to accommodate 12 patients, which in turn will take the accommodation capacity to 30 patients by next year. Apart from the OneFifteen initiative, the company has also raised $1 billion in a funding in the beginning of this year, which has provided it plenty of resources to make strategic investments in healthcare projects. Additionally, Verily is working with Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), Johnson & Johnson and Dexcom, among others, on different projects in order to advance the healthcare industry and increase efficiency. Another arm of Alphabet called Calico focuses on anti-aging research. Both Verily and Calico are part of the company’s “Other Bets” segment. Notably, these projects are likely to witness strong growth in the near term backed by these initiatives. Alphabet’s search division Google is investing heavily on AI to integrate the technology further into healthcare management. Google is applying AI for disease detection, new data infrastructure and potential insurance. Alphabet currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Year-to-Date Price Performance Amazon & Microsoft Gaining Traction in Healthcare Amazon is constantly disrupting healthcare space. The e-commerce giant is leaving no stone unturned to replace the time-consuming traditional healthcare methods with faster and efficient processes. The Zacks Rank #3 company offers Amazon Comprehend Medical, which helps in seamless extraction of medical information related to health condition, medication and dosage, and treatment from unstructured data like test reports, doctor’s notes and audio interviews by leveraging the power of its robust ML techniques and cloud services. Further, the company recently integrated its automatic speech recognition technology into healthcare system by introducing Amazon Transcribe Medical, which is a real-time automatic speech recognition service for healthcare customers. Additionally, Amazon has made several notable acquisitions and partnerships in order to rapidly penetrate the healthcare industry. Moreover, its cloud computing arm, AWS, is gaining traction among several healthcare companies, on the back of its strong service portfolio. Meanwhile, Microsoft is strengthening presence in this industry backed by its cloud computing platform, Azure. Notably, it is gaining rapid adoption for supporting healthcare workloads. Recently, the company teamed up with Nuance Communications to develop conversational AI and ambient intelligence technologies to transform doctor-patient interaction. Further, company’s venture capital fund called M12 led an investment worth $35 million in a healthcare data platform company, Innovaccer, in the beginning of this year. Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Hard to Ignore Apple & IBM Apple carrying a Zacks Rank #3 is strengthening presence in the personal health monitor space with its expanding watch portfolio. Recently, the iPhone maker launched Apple Watch Series-5 which supports Apple Hearing Study, Apple Women’s Health Study and Apple Heart & Movement Study. Further, the watch is based on watchOS 6, which comes with additional healthcare and fitness features like Cycle Tracking, the Noise app and Activity Trends. Meanwhile, IBM Watson Health unit is riding on strategic partnerships. It entered into agreement with Guerbet to develop AI software solution pertaining to prostate cancer diagnostics and monitoring. Further, IBM Imaging AI Marketplace, which is a single-source solution for locating, purchasing, deploying and managing AI imaging applications, remains a key catalyst. Additionally, IBM Watson Health Imaging artificial intelligence platform is bolstering this Zacks Rank #3 company’s presence in the healthcare industry. 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