(…with a little help from Izzy, our team’s latest venture…)
All of the biggest companies in tech (Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and more), are fighting to stake their claim in the multi-trillion dollar healthcare market, with global healthcare spending on track to exceed $10 Trillion USD by 2020 according to data from the World Health Organization.
Here are just a few examples from three of the tech giants most active in healthcare — Google, Amazon, and Apple:
- Google/Alphabet — health-focused subsidiaries Verily and Calico, and investments in companies like Oscar Health, One Medical, Forward, CityBlock Health, and numerous others.
- Amazon —exclusive brand of home health products; acquisition of PillPack, acquisition of Whole Foods; combined health initiative with JPM and Berkshire Hathaway, led by Dr. Atul Gawande.
- Apple — AC Wellness Clinics, partnerships with health systems and work with Health Gorilla in health records initiative, Apple Watch partnership with Aetna, acquisition of Gliimpse, and partnership with Zimmer Biomet.
I personally believe Apple can beat out both Google and Amazon, and dominate the space to amass their next trillion dollars in market value.
Why? For one, there are huge data privacy concerns in healthcare — fortunately, Apple CEO Tim Cook strongly supports increased protection of consumer data. Second, there are over 1.3 billion Apple devices out there in the world, and Apple’s not slowing down, having seen seven consecutive quarters of accelerating year-over-year revenue growth rates.
Now imagine if Apple were able to use these one billion-plus devices to connect their users to direct-to-consumer, personalized healthcare services. That could be an immense source of additional revenue. Apple could then leverage this direct access to consumer healthcare, along with its existing partnerships with private insurers and health systems, to gain further revenues by connecting their users to the full continuum of care.
Below I’ll explore how Apple can implement this exact strategy through partnership with Izzy Care. We’re a low-cost membership for unlimited, personalized primary care, mental health therapy, and nutrition & wellness coaching, featured in top healthcare publications like MedCity News, Healthcare Weekly, and Becker’s Hospital Review. We use A.I. to automate tasks for our care teams and help our patients gain personalized insights into their health, and blockchain to drive immense cost-savings and enable patient data ownership. We launched our service across all 50 U.S. states in Q2 of this year, and have been scaling rapidly since.
I believe that integrating our care model, technology and protocols into Apple products could not only help Apple beat out Google and Amazon and become a dominant player in the healthcare ecosystem, but also finally deliver the high-quality, low-cost, patient-centric care we all want to see in today’s healthcare ecosystem across the globe.
Integrating Izzy’s Tech into Apple’s Product Suite
iMessage and FaceTime + Izzy Care Teams — Making Healthcare Invisible
At the center of Izzy Care is a Direct, Collaborative Care model. What this means is that, for a flat monthly membership fee ($99/mo), our patients have unlimited access to their care teams, consisting of their own personal Family Medicine physician, psychotherapist, and nutrition & wellness coach.
By having these different experts on the same team, our care teams can provide the absolute best in personalized, integrated care. With a focus on collaboration and prevention, our care teams can help save dramatically on downstream costs, such as hospitalizations or procedures due to the worsening of a chronic condition.
Our members can communicate with their care teams through unlimited, end-to-end encrypted messaging and live video, right from our app.
But now imagine if this secure communication was integrated directly into your iPhone, allowing you to connect with your dedicated care team right from iMessage or FaceTime? Your healthcare could blend into the other aspects of your life, and become almost invisible. Communicate with your doctor with the same ease that you text a friend, no separate app needed.
And since Izzy Care is a subscription service, you don’t have to worry about individual payments for consulting your care team — whether it’s a video session with your psychotherapist, or chatting with your nutrition & wellness coach about your diet and fitness goals, it’s all included in the flat membership fee. No $20 copays for urgent care, no $200 for 30 minutes with a psychologist or nutritionist.
Siri + Izzy — A Match Made in Heaven
Izzy is our A.I.-powered virtual assistant (hence our name, Izzy Care). Izzy enables clinicians to focus wholeheartedly on patient care by automating back-office tasks and various aspects of the clinical workflow. Izzy also helps patients get data-driven insights into their health with personalized assessments and reminders.
Now, imagine if this functionality were integrated into Siri. What if Siri could give you personalized health insights based on your data, answer some of your health-related queries, and connect you directly to your doctor and care team?
Physicians today spend nearly 50% of their time on computer-based tasks…what if they were given this time back? What if Siri, in addition to helping you, could also be an assistant to your doctor, automating processes in the background so your doctor can focus on providing you with the best care possible?
Samsung is already integrating healthcare-focused A.I. into their mobile devices through a partnership with U.K. startup Babylon Health. Babylon Health’s A.I. is integrated directly into Samsung’s devices, allowing for A.I.-powered consultations with doctors.
Apple iPhone, Watch + IZZY Token Rewards — Driving Cost Savings, Enabling Patient Data Ownership and Monetization
You’re likely already working towards your own personal health & wellness goals in some form or fashion — whether that’s trying to get to the gym more, be more active in general, lose a certain amount of weight, or better manage a certain chronic condition.
Ultimately, you’re saving health insurers thousands by taking your care into your own hands. What if you too were rewarded financially for the progress that you’re making? Many health insurers now offer point rewards for hitting a certain daily step count goal, which you can redeem for a few dollars off your premiums.
But what if you wholly owned these financial rewards, and could spend them however you please? What if you were rewarded for meeting your personal goals, whatever they are, not just a single standard step count goal that the health insurer arbitrarily chooses to reward? What if these rewards actually correlated with the savings you’re creating for the health insurer, not just a few dollars and cents while they keep all the profits? And what if this reward program was guaranteed by code, not by an insurance company’s word?
At Izzy Care, our members can opt-in to our wellness rewards program. Our members can earn IZZY tokens (ERC-20 token standard) for meeting their own personal health & wellness goals, which they can use to pay for the cost of their membership at a discounted rate, OR trade on exchanges for other digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH), and from there out to USD to spend however they please. By using smart contracts and patient-generated health data (PGHD) from any apps or devices our members choose to connect to (Apple Watch, myFitnessPal, etc.), these rewards are issued automatically and are wholly owned by the patient.
We also allow patients to monetize their data through two means: (1) by opting in to securely share their anonymized health data with researchers, pharma and biotech companies, and/or (2) by opting in to share their anonymized data in the same secure fashion with us, so that we can use this data to power our deep learning algorithms, helping us derive precision health insight and support the delivery of precision (personalized) medicine. It’s your data, and data is quickly becoming many organizations’ most valuable asset. You should be financially rewarded for sharing that data.
Now imagine if these protocols, these technologies, were integrated directly into the Apple Watch and Apple iPhone. You could automatically earn cryptocurrency for walking or going to the gym while wearing your Apple Watch. Right from the Apple Health App, you could opt-in to share your data with researchers, healthcare companies, and be appropriately financially compensated for that data. You could then view all the cryptocurrency you’ve earned right in your Apple Wallet, and from there, use it however you please.
Entering the Health Insurance Fray
At Izzy Care, we’re piloting a first-of-its kind insurance product in NYC, aiming for launch in Q4 2019/Q1 2020. This insurance plan has the core Izzy Care membership at its center, included in a single flat fee, along with full coverage for any 3rd party services, such as specialist care, hospitalizations, laboratory testing, or medications. Each member enrolled in this product is assigned an additional care team member, a Care Coordinator who can make care recommendations and aid members in arranging any of these necessary third-party services.
We expect our patients enrolled in this plan to see a total reduction in their overall healthcare costs of up to 50%. This is due to the immense savings we see with our membership’s Direct, Collaborative Care model and the consequent focus on preventive care, incentivizing healthy behaviors, integration of primary care and behavioral health, etc. We also plan to utilize some existing services, to build on-top of our core offering and expand the services we provide directly:
- Our Family Medicine physicians, as part of our members’ care teams, will be given access to a network of specialists (i.e. psychiatrists, neurologists, gastroenterologists) for e-consults through RubiconMD. This will enable the Family Medicine physicians making up our member’s care teams to handle — in virtual collaboration with the specialist — up to 80% of concerns that would normally require a separate referral. Therefore, our patients need not be inconvenienced with having to get set up with yet another clinical team.
- Our Nutrition & Wellness coaches already work with patients to form personalized diet and exercise plans. We’re enabling members to more easily follow through with these plans and meet their health goals by partially subsidizing fresh-grocery delivery through companies like Instacart.
- We’re also integrating genome sequencing through companies like Helix into members’ care plans, allowing for even more highly personalized care, and helping implement preventative measures (if their genome shows a predisposition towards heart disease, for example) for at-risk patients.
Following this initial launch in NYC, we can more readily partner with traditional insurers, governments (both domestic and international), and/or dedicated healthcare blockchain insurance solutions like our friends at Decent, to replicate/expand this coverage in other markets. We’ll then be able to convert our thousands of existing members outside of the NYC area to insurance plan enrollees.
How Apple Breaks into Health Insurance
Apple is already partnered with Aetna, offering discounts on the Apple Watch to Aetna members, and numerous health systems, through their health records initiative. So, there’s a huge, easy win here for all parties.
Millions of patients could receive access to personalized healthcare through the Apple/Izzy integration. Apple, Izzy, and Apple’s existing partners like Aetna could then offer these millions of patients/users/members a joint low-cost insurance product, much like the plan we’re offering in NYC.
Part of this plan could also involve free in-house testing, select procedures, and generic meds at AC Wellness Clinics and even CVS Minute Clinics (assuming the proposed Aetna-CVS merger goes through).
Bringing Things Full Circle
How could this actually work in practice?
Let’s assume Apple & Izzy tech are integrated as we’ve discussed thus far — Siri gaining the capabilities of the Izzy A.I.; secure, encrypted care team messaging integrated into iMessage and FaceTime; IZZY token rewards, data ownership and data monetization capabilities integrated into Apple Watch, Apple Health & Wallet Apps.
Let’s bundle the pricing — 3 free months of Izzy Care included with the purchase of iPhone, and a discount coupon for the Apple Watch. And let’s do a revenue-share arrangement between Apple and Izzy, where Apple takes a portion of all fees collected through the membership.
There are close to 90 million iPhone users here in the United States. Let’s shoot to provide care to 10% of these iPhone users in the first two years of this integration/partnership.
So let’s take 9 million users. At $99/month for the service, that’s $10.7 Billion USD in new annual recurring revenue, split according to the terms of the revenue sharing agreement. Or, Apple could just straight-up acquire us and keep the whole of the revenues from the get-go.
Now, let’s connect these patients/users/members to a low-cost, custom insurance plan, bringing together Izzy, Aetna and other Apple healthcare partners, giving members these added benefits:
- Genomic screening and integration into treatment plan
- Family Medicine physicians given access to specialist network for e-consults, reducing need for specialist referrals
- Care Coordination services
- Coverage for specialist visits, laboratory testing, hospitalizations, discounts on grocery delivery, etc.
- Free/low-cost in-person physical examinations, on-site testing, generic meds at AC Wellness Clinics and even CVS Minute Clinics (again, assuming the CVS-Aetna merger goes through)
Imagine the kind of disruption this could bring to healthcare. Disruption that not only benefits Apple as a company, but also drives down costs and improves outcomes for patients, and better supports the clinicians that are at the forefront of care delivery.
I believe that by partnering with Izzy Care, Apple can outpace Google, Amazon, and grab significant healthcare market share to establish themselves as a dominant player in the industry. Apple, together with Izzy, can lead healthcare with a direct connection to consumers and high consumer trust, reduce costs and deliver better outcomes, and help guide future of healthcare globally.
Apple + Izzy. A world changing collaboration.
Do me a favor and share this with Tim Cook 😉 . I’d love to hear his thoughts.