Big Tech Won't Solve Healthcare
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, another one gone….
Google Health has called it quits on a unified strategy to target healthcare, again shifting their health priorities to realign with their existing business divisions. This comes after reports that Apple is stepping back from a key health project, adding to the long list of Big Tech ambitious health plans coming to a screeching halt since the beginning of 2021.
Big Tech might have given us ubiquitous digital experiences, but it’s not going to fix healthcare on its own. Big Tech doesn’t have the right story.
Beyond the tangled web of US Healthcare policy, regulations and reimbursements, healthcare is a human-driven system. We’re dealing with humans, who are tricky, irrational, biased, individuals with specific needs and desires. Unlike machines, which can be solved with a simple “input-process-output” approach, humans need more than logic sequences. We need a healthcare narrative that we can call all our own.
We are creatures of stories and the current healthcare experience will not be improved just with technology.
So how will it be improved?
How can we truly disrupt healthcare?
Let’s look at today’s announcement from Headspace and Ginger. The two mental health companies are merging to form Headspace Health -- combining the story-driven experience of Headspace’s meditations with Ginger’s telehealth technology to deliver mental healthcare across the spectrum. Headspace has thrived because it delivers therapeutic benefits through story-driven content. Its entertainment partnerships and collaborations with the likes of John Legend, Sesame Street and Netflix redefine mental health as part of our daily lives, rather than sequestered into the corner of “disease” and “unwell”. Paired with Ginger’s telehealth interventions, I am confident Headspace Health will continue to create a new narrative for mental health; one that everyone feels they can be a part of.
That’s the thing Big Tech is missing. We could have all this fancy technology at our fingertips but that doesn’t change the health story we’re in. Healthcare’s current story is narrated by health professionals -- as it should -- but without the co-ownership of patients. Who wants to be involved in a story they have no say of?
Headspace’s meditation invites users to come along in the story. It disguises health concepts into easy, actionable entertainment. Headspace and other Health Entertainment properties are able to improve our wellbeing, without the punitive “do this or you’ll die” narrative that turns us off from listening to healthcare professionals in the first place.
While Big Tech scrambles to salvage their healthcare efforts, my eyes are on Health Entertainment companies like Headspace Health who will bust the silos of health, entertainment and technology to truly disrupt healthcare and give Americans a consumer friendly health experience unrivaled by Big Tech.