Venrock survey shows hopes are high for Amazon in healthcare, but mixed for JP Morgan-Berkshire Hathaway venture

By Jonah Comstock
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According to a group of 300 healthcare stakeholders surveyed in , Amazon is the tech company to watch in the healthcare space — even if they're pretty well split on the prospects for the Amazon-JP Morgan-Berkshire Hathaway project.

When asked which of five tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and IBM) would make the most progress in 2018, 51 percent selected Amazon. Apple followed with 26 percent and Google took 18 percent, leaving Microsoft and IBM with a scant 5 percent to share between them.

When Venrock asked about the partnership specifically, however, 48 percent chose the middle answer, "It's gonna be a long haul." Twenty-seven percent thought "they just might pull this thing off," and 25 percent said "they have no idea what they're getting into." Only 16 percent felt that the announcement of the partnership was the most important healthcare event of the past year.

Instead, most (51 percent) felt the continued survival of the Affordable Care Act, the result of a protracted legislative fight, was the biggest news of the year. Twenty-two percent named CVS' planned acquisition of Aetna, and 11 percent gave the nod to Dr. Scott Gottlieb's assumption of the post of FDA commissioner. 

Outside of Amazon, survey respondents were also asked some general questions about technoogy trends in healthcare. 

The majority (54 percent) felt that AI was going to make a difference in healthcare, but not for another two to three years. Just seven percent thought successful applications and business models were coming this year. Thirty percent gave a solid maybe, while nine percent felt AI was just hype.

Analytics and big data where the most respondents (54 percent) predicted rapid growth, while another 41 percent predicted growth to a lesser extent. Telemedicine was almost the inverse, with 41 percent predicting rapid growth and 53 percent predicting some growth. Digital preventative care saw 55 percent predicting some growth and 27 percent predicting rapid growth, while wearables were more split: 53 percent saw some growth, just 14 percent saw rapid growth, and 33 percent predicted either no growth or growth declines.