For most tech companies, breaking into the health services or medical industries might involve developing some new gadget (hardware). At Amazon, the approach is quite the opposite: the Seattle tech giant has already started selling software that is able to mine patient data and send them to doctors and hospitals.
Amazon says that this new software can read a patient’s digital records and analyze the data in search of key extraction points. These data points are then sent to doctors and hospitals so they can focus on improving treatments and cutting costs. The company also says they have made the software available after examining various types of patient data—disease records, prescriptions, lab orders, etc—and performed analysis that is, at the very least, equivalent to existing digital data tools.
At present, then, the software team is now trying to refine the algorithm they developed through deep learning strategies in order to overcome common obstacles to streamlined service. These obstacles can include typos, different abbreviations, and the many different distinctions doctors use in daily operations. As such, Amazon has also teamed up with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to better analyze data and improve the algorithms to find patients who have specific eligibility for new drug tests.
While this certainly has some excellent implications for consumers, it might also be a good idea to keep in mind that Amazon is an e-commerce company and their primary focus is on selling products to consumers. And if we observe that the company acquired the online pharmacy company PillPack, in June, for $1 billion—a company who has a presence in 49 of the United States—it is not too difficult to suggest that perhaps Amazon is looking to become a major medical supplier to US hospitals (as well as individual patients).
If we also take a look at the fact that Amazon has also established a relationship with the Arcadia group, which will allow the online retailer to sell health monitoring devices. Amazon also has a new patent through its virtual voice assistant Alexa to detect coughing or other cold symptoms and suggest medicines. At the same time, Amazon reassures that the software they have built to take advantage of AWS encrypts all of the data, so in the case of this new product, only customers will be able to see it.