Health IT, Artificial Intelligence

Amazon rolls out tool to help healthcare companies manage a deluge of data

Amazon Web Services rolled out a new tool, called Amazon HealthLake, to help healthcare and life sciences companies manage their data. The goal is to make it easier for companies to search their data and perform analysis on it.

As cloud service providers compete for a growing slice of the healthcare market, Amazon Web Services rolled out a new tool to help healthcare and life science companies manage their data. Called Amazon HealthLake, it aggregates a company’s data across disparate formats into one location, where it is standardized so it can be easily searched and structured.

The goal is to make it easier for companies to search, perform analytics and run machine learning on their health data.

“There has been an explosion of digitized health data in recent years with the advent of electronic medical records, but organizations are telling us that unlocking the value from this information using technology like machine learning is still challenging and riddled with barriers,” Swami Sivasubramanian, AWS’ vice president of Amazon machine learning, said in a news release. “With Amazon HealthLake, healthcare organizations can reduce the time it takes to transform health data in the cloud from weeks to minutes so that it can be analyzed securely, even at petabyte scale.”

Healthcare companies generate huge volumes of information, including patients’ family history, medications and diagnoses. But most of this data is unstructured, stored in different locations, and difficult to match together.

Amazon’s service aggregates this information and stores it in a FHIR format, as well as tags each piece of clinical information and indexes it into a timeline view. The company says it can be configured in such a way that it meets HIPAA compliance requirements.

Some of AWS’ users include 3M, Anthem, Pfizer, and Cerner — which notably turned down a deal from Google to pick AWS as its cloud provider last year. Epic Systems, which had been pursuing an integration with Google Cloud, told its customers earlier this year that it would focus on AWS or Microsoft Azure instead, after Google’s work with Ascension drummed up privacy concerns.

That said, Google Cloud has still been putting pressure on the competition, rolling out several new features, including a system that uses natural language processing to review unstructured medical text.  And it also has shared plans to develop more tools for virtual visits, as indicated by its recent investment in telehealth company Amwell.


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