Amazon’s new software to analyse digitized patient records could have manifold impact on healthcare

Amazon’s latest effort in healthcare to sell a new HIPAA-eligible machine learning-based software that can pull out and analyse patient data from chaotic electronic medical records (EMRs), could have considerable impact in reshaping the industry by overcoming current hurdles that impede successful application of Big Data in healthcare, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The project, to mine data from EMRs, called Amazon Comprehend Medical, announced on 27th November 2018, will not only help doctors to diagnose and tailor patients’ medications faster and more accurately, but reduce cost, and speed up medical research.

Dr. Edit Kovalcsik, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Managing Analyst for GlobalData, comments: “While the development of the company’s progress in digital health could be worrisome to Pharma, whose traditional methods are failing to deliver adequate care to the growing consumer demand for more accessible care, Amazon’s announcement also indicated that Roche is previewing the software to use it to convert unstructured data into useful insights and accelerate research and enable personalized healthcare.”

Amazon has made huge progress this year to take on healthcare by partnering with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway in January, to reduce the cost of healthcare services in America, which drove down market value of many of the industry’s biggest retail pharmacies including Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid. Additionally, on the distribution front, Amazon purchased PillPack online pharmacy in June.

Amazon also plans to bring Alexa voice technology to provide services to new mothers, infants, the elderly, and people with diabetes, according to a CNBC source. However, this requires overcoming regulations, and protection of sensitive medical data, which, according to GlobalData’s Thematic Research report: ‘Big Data in Healthcare’ is another major obstacle that hampers Big Data applications in healthcare.

Dr. Kovalcsik continues: “Whilst improving health outcomes, Amazon’s software could alleviate growing healthcare costs and insufficient resources brought about by aging populations and increasing prevalence of chronic diseases.”

Despite concerns of sharing medical and health information with the company, Amazon is well positioned to achieve its grand goals in digital health. According to GlobalData, a vast majority of consumers (79%) would like Amazon to lower prices and just under 60% of consumers would like to be able to reorder drugs via Alexa.

Dr. Kovalcsik concludes: “Correct interpretation of the abundant data generated through healthcare services is fundamental to successfully transform the industry to become highly efficient and cost effective and Amazon is right at the edge to achieve this through its AI-integrated software, patient focused online pharmacy, and voice technology.”

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