Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and other tech giants want to fix one of the most broken things about health care

Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and other tech giants want to fix one of the most broken things about health care


  • It's difficult for patients to share medical records, especially between hospitals.
  • Despite years of efforts to make it easier, there are strong economic incentives that keep health tech incumbents and care providers from fixing the problem.
  • On Monday, a bunch of traditional tech giants, including Alphabet, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, and Salesforce, proposed a common set of standards and pledged to make products that support them.

There are many broken things about the U.S. health care system. But one of the biggest and most overlooked problems is that patients still find it too hard to share their medical information between doctors, especially those working in different hospitals.

It's a huge problem for many reasons: It makes it harder for consumers to access the highest-quality care, and new patients who walk into a hospital are like strangers — care-givers won't know if they have an allergy or a chronic disease.

Some of the largest technology companies in the world are undertaking a new effort to fix that. And they have a good reason to do it, as the lack of open standards around health data is a huge barrier for them to get into the $3 trillion health system.

On Monday, Alphabet, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and Salesforcespoke out at an event in Washington D.C. called the Blue Button 2.0 Developer conference. These companies are rivals in some important ways, so it's a strong signal that they came together on this issue.

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