By Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen)
What giant technology company is conspicuously absent from the healthcare business?
Reading Brady Olsen’s article on this blog last Friday got me thinking more about healthcare devices and who’s really doing it well. Yes Fitbit, Up by Jawbone and the like are gaining positive buzz. And Nike’s new Fuelband will just up the activity in that category. But the most popular device in that category remains the Nike+ devices they produce in partnership with Apple.
Why has Nike+ been successful? Partially because Nike is such a respected name in the sports and fitness community. But I think even more of it’s success has to do with its integration with the iPod device. The seamless marriage of technology with a near ubiquitous device (who doesn’t own an iPod at this point) are what attracts so many.
So why couldn’t Apple do the same for non-runners? Why couldn’t they create technology that integrates with the numerous iPhones, iPods, and iPads that we all have in our lives to help us better track our health?
The fact that Google and Microsoft have both made efforts in this area with limited success should make the challenge even more attractive to the braintrust in Cupertino (heck, Steve Jobs would have gone after this in a second). Reading Walter Isaacson’s recent biography of Jobs, it’s readily apparent that Apple’s seamless integration of hardware and software would give them an immediate advantage over other players in the field. And the App store is a perfect delivery vehicle for delivering software customized to specific patient conditions and concerns.
Adoption and compliance are like any other consumer behavior. Removing friction from the “purchase cycle” of healthcare will increase conversion and lead to better patient outcomes. And no one delivers a frictionless experience like Apple.
So come on Tim Cooke, join the party. Yes I want my new iTV. But what I really want is my iDoc, technology and software that will keep me fit and healthy so I’ll be buying Apple devices for the next forty years!
Who else is missing? What other companies need to make healthcare an important part of their business?