Another Nuance for Platform Wars

By Sari Kaganoff, General Manager of Consulting

And we are closed Races Again: Microsoft Announced Yesterday plan to get Nance Communications for 16B. Nuance develops AI speech recognition and medical transcription technology, and currently serves 77% of American hospitals. This is the largest digital health acquisition since Teladok’s $ 1B. $ B Merger Livongo last August, according to the Rock Health Digital Health M&A database. After that early starter pistol of platform wars, only last month we saw the Doctor on the Grand Round and Demand. Merge To build an integrated virtual healthcare company, insurance provider Bright Health Acquisition Zipnosis to enter telehealth, and expand their home lab testing service through Everwell Acquisition PWNHealth and Home Access Health among many others.

While the Microsoft and Nuance deal is big digital health news, it should be considered through the lens of the broad cloud wars between Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. (Also IBM Entering Providing quantum computing through cloud services at the Cleveland Clinic in the game). Healthcare is an attractive battleground for these cloud giants where mountains of healthcare data are still locked into the legacy provider IT system. The acquisition will give Microsoft integrated health data capture, transcription, and cloud storage capabilities. It heads-through some of the biggest and most persistent pain points in provider workflows (apart from brain-listening data entry and computer screen precious patient interaction time).

The acquisition of Microsoft follows News Google is piloting its EHR search tool with Ascension. The provider of these healthcare cloud players provides a glimpse into the future of workflow focus provider IT. Microsoft in particular has success building enterprise software and services in other business units – it looks like they are now looking to replicate that success in healthcare, adding services to the top of data hosting. Remarkably, Amazon And Google Both cloud / enterprise strategies are pursuing both direct-consumer strategies, while Microsoft appears to be focusing more on pure consumer strategy, after closing its consumer-oriented healthcare offerings (The band And HealthVault).

Today’s arrival makes EHRs a defensive value by becoming a one-stop-shop integrated for clinical care (e.g., driver, inpantent, specialty, CDS, population health … you name it, they claim it). Future Healthcare’s cloud databases will be API-accessible data stores that compete with different devices and services (such as seamless voice transcription and analytics). We are entering the next phase of the platform war where big tech companies are competing for ownership of the underlying information structure of healthcare. We’ll keep that milestone data any day.

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