Hundreds of billions of dollars are being invested in sophisticated technology that is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Industry giants are lining up to participate. The healthcare sector, which has been shattered and badly challenged, is not only being disrupted but also being digitally rewritten. Even pre-pandemic, telehealth was on the rise. It’s now on the verge of exploding.
According to the Wall Street Journal, continued advancements in digital technology, imaging, gene editing (no longer science fiction), and Artificial Intelligence are threatening to eliminate yearly medical visits. Your next doctor might be an AI central processor that thinks like tens of thousands of doctors simultaneously. While that may be an exaggeration, wellness applications were downloaded 1.2 billion times in 2020 alone. Furthermore, by 2025, the market for big data analytics in healthcare may be worth $68 billion.
One of the primary benefactors of upcoming healthcare advancements will be the big tech stocks driving them. And it’s bringing in a lot of cash. In 2021, the total investment in the digital health industry has been $14.7 billion; and the year isn’t over. All of this leads back to one area that has always been enormous but is about to undergo a transformation: digital advertising, which is expanding at double the rate of the entire tech industry and is expected to increase another 12% this year alone.
Let’s take a brief look at a few stocks from the tech sector that we’re certainly no stranger to but have their sights set firmly on healthcare innovation. The experts clearly consider these smart portfolio picks:
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Zoom Video Communications Inc. (ZM)
Zoom Video Communications Inc. (ZM) is a major cloud-based video conferencing and webinar service provider for corporations, education, healthcare, government, and non-profits. People may converse as if they are in the same room thanks to Zoom’s unique technology. ZM, founded by three Stanford University graduates in 2011, has been named to Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s fastest-growing private firms for the past four years. ZM offers a sophisticated yet simple-to-use technology that consistently delivers high-quality meeting experiences, with over 100 million meetings held on its platform each year and a presence in 180 countries worldwide.
During the pandemic, ZM‘s popularity skyrocketed, highlighting the rising demand for video communications in the office and the healthcare industry as a whole. It’s important to note that ZM may have assisted in slowing the spread of the infection by keeping people connected without going into the workplace. ZM reports earnings again on November 30th, but if it’s any indication, they have easily bested analysts’ projections for the previous four quarters. Their last earnings report beat EPS (Earnings-per-share) predictions by 17.28% and revenue predictions by 3.15%. ZM has a consensus price target of 359.50 among those that provide 12-month price estimates, with a high of 460.00 and a low of 145.00. The forecast is up 34.99% from its current price. ZM’s buy rating is strong.
Alphabet Inc. (GOOG)
Alphabet Inc. (GOOG), the parent company of Google, is making waves in health and wellness. GOOG is dedicated to helping the world live its healthiest life, from its pandemic programs to its FitBit device. But, perhaps more significantly, it is developing critical technologies that will help physicians better manage their time and make better decisions. Google’s “Care Studio” is a brand-new software solution that will assist doctors in digitizing patient information while maintaining their privacy and security. “Care Studio streamlines key clinician workflows so that teams can quickly get the information they need to care for patients,” Google writes in a blog post. “It connects patient information from an organization’s many EHRs (Electronic Health Records) together, offering doctors a consolidated view of patient data.”
Going over GOOG’s financials is easy to summarize. They’re a monster across the board. Despite the priciness of the stock, it’s always one to keep in mind, perhaps more so now that we’re discussing its work in the improvement of healthcare. They report earnings again on October 27th, but in the meantime, have shown an EPS of $23.84 per share and $63.5 billion in sales. The price target for GOOG from analysts that provide 12-month predictions is 3,200.00, with a high of 3,600.00 and a low of 2,520.00. The estimate indicates a rise of 12.89% over its current price, and GOOG holds a strong buy rating.
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Apple Inc. (AAPL)
While many people (including myself before doing the proper research) may not think of AAPL as a major participant in the healthcare industry, the iWatch and related apps are important tools for tracking people’s health. These types of breakthroughs can help define the future of medicine, allowing humanity to live longer, healthier lives. AAPL is making ripples in the future of health, from its attempts to improve vaccine access to its Fitness+ program. Apple just announced that its Apple Fitness+ service would be expanded to include a variety of new exercises, group sessions, and even meditation capabilities.
“We are excited to be introducing new workouts that bring Fitness+ users more options to stay active and motivated, plus immersive guided Meditation experiences that are approachable for all and easy to fit into your day. With new ways to work out together or alone — and coming to more countries later this year — we can’t wait to welcome even more people to experience Fitness+.” AAPL’s numbers, like GOOG’s, really don’t need a complete breakdown, as their success in the stock market and the tech industry has been more than obvious. AAPL, as of the latest data, pays a dividend yield of 0.6%, has an EPS of $1.23 per share, and revenue of $85 billion. AAPL’s price target from analysts that provide 12-month predictions is 170.00, with a high of 198.00 and a low of 90.00. The median implies an increase of 17.38% over its current price. It should go without saying that the consensus is also to buy AAPL.
I should add that although these stocks have perhaps been overly mentioned, I thought it was prudent to do so in this case through the lens of their respective roles in healthcare innovation. I find it exciting, and worth writing about, that these vast companies (that are already a big part of our lives) are already so involved in improving our healthcare system. What a fascinating world in which we live.
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