Amazon expands catalog of HIPAA-eligible AI services

By | November 13, 2018

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon continues to look for new ways to be relevant to healthcare workers. Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud business, announced last week that three of its most popular services — Amazon Translate, Amazon Comprehend and Amazon Transcribe — are now HIPAA-eligible.
  • The trio brings the number of HIPAA-eligible AWS machine learning services up to six. Amazon Polly, Amazon SageMaker and Amazon Rekognition already cleared that hurdle.
  • Healthcare companies currently running HIPAA-compliant workloads on AWS include NexGen Healthcare, Omada Health, Verge Health and Orion Health, Amazon said.

Dive Insight:

Natural language processing and accurate transcription are high on doctors’ wish lists these days. According to a Medscape survey, seven in 10 doctors feel burned out, depressed or both as a result of increasing administrative burdens. A number of tech firms are vying to address that space with new tools.

Earlier this year, CNBC reported that Google was scouting for talent in voice technology with the aim of improving the doctor-patient experience. Digital startup Suki is also betting on voice, raising $ 20 million in a Series A round to advance an AI-based voice assistant for doctors. 

Recently, Epic teamed up with Nuance Communications to leverage voice assistance technology in EHRs. Doctors using the systems will be able to retrieve schedules, call up patient information and check lab results and medication lists.

Amazon has been expanding its footprint in healthcare. The e-commerce giant recently secured a patent for a feature that would enable Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated technology, to detect when a user is sick and suggest an over-the-counter remedy for them to buy. 

The company is also threatening to disrupt the retail pharmacy space with its acquisition of PillPack. The online pharmacy delivers presorted medicine to patients in 49 states. 

On top of all that, Amazon formed a company with J. P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway to reimagine healthcare for their U.S. employees. The companies hired Harvard Medical School surgery professor and New Yorker staff writer Atul Gawande to head the joint venture. It also recently brought on consultancy powerhouse Monitor Group to advise on enhancing care of people with chronic conditions.

The more Amazon can integrate into healthcare workflow, alongside its more consumer-faced pushes like the recently announced Choice medical device brand, the better poised it will be to compete across the healthcare space.

Last month, the online retail giant said it will begin selling glucose monitors and blood pressure cuffs straight to consumers through a partnership with Arcadia Group. The devices and supporting apps will be available under the brand name “Choice” and can be bought without a payer’s authorization.

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