- Facebook had asked top hospitals to share anonymized patient data, including information on illnesses and prescriptions, CNBC reported.
- The social media giant planned to use the data to help “several major U.S. hospitals,” which were not named, identify patients who may need care.
- The effort never passed the planning phase, a Facebook spokesperson told the network, adding the company didn’t receive or analyze such data. Patient consent was not discussed in the early talks, according to the report.
- While Facebook’s patient data program may be put on ice for now, the company has a lot of data on individuals and could reboot the effort.
Meanwhile, healthcare companies, and particularly insurers, are pushing to move patients to lower levels of acuity settings, including urgent care and primary care clinics. More emphasis is being given to so-called social determinants of health, primarily access to food, care services and housing, as these factors are known to impact a person’s health.
As preventative care moves upstream and away from hospitals, technology companies see an opening into the $3 trillion healthcare market. Companies from Lyft to Uber and Apple have all announced healthcare platforms this year. Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway also announced they formed a healthcare company in an effort to take greater control over costs and their employees’ health.
“For the first time, (digital) diagnosis of disease was the most-funded value proposition among digital health companies,” Rock Health found in its Q1 digital health funding report. Digital health startups continue to both tackle the clinical aspects of care (diagnosis of disease, monitoring of disease) and reducing friction between patients and the healthcare system (health benefits administration, on-demand healthcare services).
Other companies such as Omada Health, Virta Health and Vida Health all specialize in accumulating patient data for specific chronic conditions, highlighting a rising of digital therapeutics brands and products.
Whether its a startup or a mature technology company, new entrants have their sights set on healthcare and many are betting on data..