Search engine giant Google (GOOG -2.18 percent) is intensely focusing its efforts and heavily investing in the health-tech space. More than 500 people now work at Google Health as its parent company Alphabet tries to improve search results that consumers see when they consult “Dr. Google”. The tech giant is counting on new businesses as growth slows in its core digital advertising revenues. A bet on health tech could prove very lucrative for the company, while also helping low-income communities manage their health better.
Why This Matters: For Google, it’s health-tech ambitions date back more than a decade to 2006. However, its original “Google Health” product was canned back in 2012. Google then spent several years developing artificial intelligence to identify diseases with the intent of predicting outcomes and reducing costs. Alphabet’s CEO Sundar Pichai stated healthcare offers the biggest potential for the company to use AI to improve outcomes over the next five to 10 years, according to CNBC.
African Americans have the second highest rate of diabetes, at nearly 13 percent
It’s not just Google that’s all in on health-tech, Apple (AAPL -2.26 percent) and Amazon (AMZN -2.65 percent) are focusing on fighting diabetes as another possible revenue source. Health-tech is big business and projected to reach $149 billion by 2025, with the diabetes device market set to claim around $38 billion by 2026. African American’s who over-index in this disease could start seeing lower treatment costs, and it would allow these tech companies to capture a big chunk of the diabetic business.
Black Americans Have the Highest Mortality Rates But Lowest Levels of Life Insurance
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Diabetes is not a cheap disease to treat, with insulin sellers constantly increasing prices as much as 353 percent. WebMD found that average insulin costs for type 1 diabetes increased from $12,467 in 2012 to $18,494 in 2016. African Americans have the second-highest rate of diabetes, a chronic condition that affects how the body regulates blood sugar, at nearly 13 percent, according to the CDC.
Situational Awareness: Google claims to be interested in healthcare because it’s for the greater good of humanity. The health division isn’t connected to Google’s ad business, but some major red flags have already been raised around Google Health’s access to medical records. Currently, the federal government is investigating whether Google and Ascension, the second-largest health system in the U.S. are protecting patient data sufficiently.