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Tech set to transform $3 trillion health care industry

The leaders of major tech companies from Apple to Google have recently enthused about the enormous potential at the intersection of health care and technology for business and individuals alike.

Such enthusiasm was discussed during a CNBC panel regarding the future of health care during the World Economic Forum at Davos on Tuesday, where the head of SAP echoed the belief that the potential for technology-enabled healthcare solutions is immense.

Speaking to the limitations of the world's existing, largely analogue healthcare infrastructure, SAP Chief Executive Officer(CEO) Bill McDermott emphasized that the possibilities available to enhance patients' experiences are exciting and evolving.

"I think it's wild that we're still in a world where you repeat what's wrong with you to several different people and you write what's wrong with you down on a piece of paper," McDermott commented.

"The patient wants more than that," he added.

Electronic medical records
Reza Estakhrian | Getty Images

In McDermott's view, the biggest potential health care gamechanger is in the provision of personalized, precision medicine where exact solutions can be pinpointed for each patient. Although the SAP chief says it is not an area in which his enterprise software company stands to make money for several years, he claims it has the power to truly transform lives and that from a longer-term perspective, "that opportunity is limitless."

However, looking further out, fellow panelist Jonathan Adiri, founder and CEO of health care technology start-up healthy.io, which is the first company to turn a smartphone into a clinical grade scanner, talked to the longer-term opportunity looming.

"Health care in the U.S. alone is almost a $3 trillion opportunity," he claimed, adding that if a company is able to capture even only a sliver of that market, the potential for growth is tremendous.

Indeed, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent Alphabet recently posited that it was highly likely that the next $100 billion corporation could come from the health care industry.

Panelist Michael Neidorff, chairman and CEO of Centene, which focuses on providing health care solutions to the most vulnerable persons in the U.S., said using all available technology for all patients regardless of their circumstances was critical.

"That's what every person is entitled to in our opinion," he affirmed.

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