Google and Apple Inc. have some bright ideas about the future of health care. Not so long ago, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. had similar ideas: a networked world of devices and services that would revolutionize how medicine is practiced in the U.S. and, in the process, tap into a huge new vein of business. So far, it hasn’t worked out that way for the telecom companies.
Now comes the tech push. Google parent company Alphabet Inc. is developing wearable devices embedded with sensors, such as contact lens that monitors glucose levels. Apple supports developers of apps that track consumers’ health data, sharing the information directly with doctors. And dozens of startups such as Omada Health Inc., Doctor on Demand Inc. and Amwell are helping people lose weight and connect with other patients, coaches or doctors. Can these businesses succeed where the likes of Verizon and AT&T fell flat just a few years ago?