Technology companies could soon drive down health care costs, says Mary Meeker

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Technology companies could soon drive down healthcare costs, according to Mary Meeker, a partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.

As people in the U.S. increasingly struggle to make ends meet, the “consumerization” of healthcare and rising data availability could be on the cusp of reducing healthcare spending, Meeker predicted during her annual presentation on the future of the internet.

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People are spending more on healthcare than ever before, Meeker’s data shows, and people are starting to view it with the same expectations that they would have for other consumer products, including desires for on-demand access and transparent pricing. Technology companies, from startups to top firms, have started to fill gaps and provide solutions.

Major companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google all have big aspirations to move deeper into healthcare. Apple is testing a productthat will let users keep their medical records on their iPhones, for example, and 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.

“You do not want to give Jeff Bezos a seven-year head start.”
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In the same section, Meeker’s presentation also highlighted how household spending on shelter has surged, which gives companies like Airbnb an opportunity to help people increase the utility of their homes through short-term rentals.

The relevant slides start on page 100 of her presentation, which you can view in full here: