Goliath, Meet David – The Health Care Blog


I’m a sucker for underdog tales.  I like unconventional knowledge overthrowing typical knowledge. I’m deeply suspicious of Huge Tech, Huge Oil, and large well being.  I do know unfettered competitors just isn’t all the time to my profit however get nervous once I don’t actually have many choices.  

So once I learn that Google is beginning to fear a couple of risk to its search dominance and that TikTok and different social media giants are fearful of a rival start-up, properly, depend me in. I simply want it was well being care goliaths that had been anxious.


You in all probability use Google to go looking on-line.  “Google” has grow to be a generic time period for search, like Xerox was for photocopying.  Relying on the supply, it’s share of search is north of 80%, in all probability nearer to 90%, and it’s been that means for a very long time. Larry and Sergey constructed a greater mousetrap and the world, certainly, construct a path to their door. 

TikTok would possibly change that.

Sure, TikTok once more.  Face it, it’s exhausting to maintain a finger on right now’s tradition with out that finger pointing to TikTok. Final month the finger pointed on to healthcare, this month it’s pointing to go looking, and that’s what has Google nervous. 

“In our research, one thing like virtually 40 p.c of younger individuals, after they’re on the lookout for a spot for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram,” Prabhakar Raghavan, a Google senior vice chairman, stated at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech 2022.  

The New York Instances proclaimed: For Gen Z, TikTok Is the New Search Engine.  The article discerns a sea change in search:

TikTok’s rise as a discovery software is a part of a broader transformation in digital search. Whereas Google stays the world’s dominant search engine, individuals are turning to Amazon to seek for merchandise, Instagram to remain up to date on developments and Snapchat’s Snap Maps to search out native companies. Because the digital world continues rising, the universe of how to search out info in it’s increasing.

The article describes how search on TikTok is completely different than on conventional search engines like google:

As a substitute of simply slogging by way of partitions of textual content, Gen Z-ers crowdsource suggestions from TikTok movies to pinpoint what they’re on the lookout for, watching video after video to cull the content material. Then they confirm the veracity of a suggestion based mostly on feedback posted in response to the movies.

That doesn’t imply, after all, that the movies are factually appropriate – not that different search engines like google are both – however Francesca Tripodi, an info and library science professor on the College of North Carolina, warned The Instances: “You aren’t actually clicking to something that will lead you out of the app.  That makes it much more difficult to double-check the data you’re getting is appropriate.”  Lee Rainie of the Pew Analysis Middle added that TikTok “is turning into a one-stop store for content material in a means that it wasn’t in its earlier days.” 

Google ought to fear.


Lest anybody assume the world is simply going to grow to be all TikTok on a regular basis, TikTok is fearful of a two-year outdated French begin up: BeReal.  BeReal, in case you hadn’t heard of it both, is a photo-sharing app whose key characteristic is that it randomly prompts customers to take and share a photograph, inside two minutes.  It makes use of each entrance and rear digicam to point out each a selfie and the place the person is.  

As BeReal describes it:

On a regular basis at a special time, everyone seems to be notified concurrently to seize and share a Picture in 2 Minutes. 

A brand new and distinctive approach to uncover who your mates actually are of their day by day life. 

BeReal was Apple’s #1 obtain this summer season, and has some 56 million downloads, with the US its greatest market. It even riffed on Fb’s preliminary technique of going after faculty campuses, by way of its ambassador program.  

TikTok and different platforms have observed. “The concern of the incumbents is that this turns into the following TikTok,” stated Mark Shmulik, an analyst for Bernstein, informed The Washington Put up. “In order that they’ve all scrambled to launch their very own model.”

Simply final week TikTok introduced TikTok Now – “a day by day picture and video expertise to share your most genuine moments with the individuals who matter essentially the most” – and Instagram is engaged on IG Candid Challenges, which The Verge labeled a “homicide clone,” since its sole function is to copy BeReal.  Snapchat was faster off the mark, rolling out its Twin Digicam characteristic final month, “a brand new means for Snapchatters to seize a number of views on the identical time – so everybody might be a part of the second, because it occurs.”

It stays to be seen if the goliaths can crush BeReal by merely cloning its options, or if considered one of them will merely purchase it, as Meta did with one-time rivals Instagram and WhatsApp.  However, as Mr. Shumulik informed WaPo, “They’ve actually caught lightning in a bottle with an concept.”  

As WaPo put it:

BeReal’s success reveals an urge for food amongst social media customers for extra genuine, intimate types of expression, and exhibits that Davids can nonetheless shake up a sector dominated by world Goliaths. On the identical time, the scramble by these Goliaths to repeat core options of an app that doesn’t also have a approach to generate profits but underscores the uphill battle that upstarts face simply to outlive.

BeReal claims: “We would like an alternative choice to addictive social networks fueling social comparability and portraying life with the aim of amassing affect.” Maybe that can be sufficient.  


Healthcare is filled with Goliaths; decide your favourite (or, reasonably, your most hated): e.g., pharma, med machine producers, nationwide well being insurers, EHR distributors, for-profit hospital chains and even your native non-profit hospital monopoly/duopoly.  They’re entrenched, they’ve been entrenched for a very long time, and their dominance is, if something, rising.  Well being care is massive enterprise, and that enterprise is filled with massive gamers.  

It additionally isn’t like Tech, a lot much less like social media, the place an entrepreneur with a good suggestion and a few cool tech can seize that lightening in a bottle and shoot to dominance rapidly. It’s too fragmented, too byzantine, too regulated, skeptics and insiders would each say.  A David would don’t have any probability.  

Properly, I’m not giving up hope. I’m on the lookout for the factor that can make present EHRs appear to be the clunky billing engines they’re. I’m on the lookout for the factor that can show hospitals to be vastly outsized.  I’m on the lookout for the factor that can break the doctor monopoly.  I’m on the lookout for the factor that can democratize pharmaceuticals.  I’m on the lookout for the factor that can rewrite healthcare’s financing.

I’m rooting for the underdog.

Kim is a former emarketing exec at a significant Blues plan, editor of the late & lamented, and now common THCB contributor.

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