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Armed with data, IT companies are transforming health care

As an industry, medicine was once the preserve of the privileged few; no more

KEN MORIYASU, Nikkei deputy editor | China

TOKYO Health care as we know it is unsustainable. Hospitals and clinics will not be able to handle the inevitable rise in the number of elderly patients. A technological transformation is vital to free up doctors to concentrate on emergencies and new fields of medicine -- and the shift has already started.

In primary care, artificial intelligence, big data and wearable devices will do much of the heavy lifting. Consulting a doctor will be something you do at home. Driving the evolution are some of the world's biggest tech companies -- Google, Facebook, IBM and Tencent -- along with a growing contingent of startups in Asia and elsewhere.

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