With people in the U.S. finding it more difficult to make ends meet, technology companies could soon drive down healthcare costs, predicts Mary Meeker, a partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.
Meeker cites two key factors that are helping to bring down healthcare spending: "consumerisation" of healthcare and increased data availability.
During her annual presentation on the future of the internet, Meeker provided data showing people are spending more on healthcare than ever before. She points out that people are starting to view such expenses with the same expectations that they would have for other consumer products, including desires for on-demand access and transparent pricing.
Interestingly, tech companies – from startups to top firms (including Apple, Amazon, and Google) – have responded to consumer's desire for value, offering new products and solutions. Apple, for example, is testing a product that will let users keep their medical records on their iPhones. Recently, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and J.P. Morgan Chase announced a partnership to cut healthcare costs and improve services for employees.
Meanwhile, start-ups like Oscar Health, an insurer building out a claims processing system, and Cedar, which provides simplified healthcare billing, are also working to address pain points across the healthcare space.
"Will market forces finally come to health care and drive prices lower for consumers?" Meeker asks.
She hopes so.
Meeker's colleague John Doerr, the chair of Kleiner Perkins and long-time investor in the tech industry, has been talking up opportunities in the health sector for several years now, and is investing in health-related startups.
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