How close are we to platform domination in healthcares digital business models?

Platform domination is a feature of several industry sectors, especially ones where there is a winner-takes-all outcome that is hard to replicate or compete against. Google dominates search. Amazon dominates e-commerce. Facebook dominates social media. And so on. In several industries, dominant incumbent firms have also developed their own platforms to get in front of disruptive innovation. Research by consulting firm McKinsey suggests that across sectors in developed economies, a single digital platform prevails 75% of the time, citing examples of Daimler, Nike, and Unilever. So, how far away is healthcare from a platform-dominated digital business model ? Over the past few years, several healthcare focused cloud-based digital platforms or health clouds - have been announced by big tech firms such as Salesforce, Microsoft, and Google. These platforms are intended to emulate the winner-take-all models that we have come to see in social media or search advertising. The McKinsey report notes that industries with lower digital maturity, such as Pharma and healthcare, see a lower level of prevalence of platforms, citing the lack of network effects, which require a large section of market participants to elect to participate in a single dominant platform, as one of the primary reasons.  In a recent conversation on my podcast, John Sculley, former CEO of Apple, stated that platform technologies have revolutionized industry after industry with one big exception healthcare. Lets explore a few of the reasons for why that is the case.

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