EHRs and Healthcare Data - Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and Apple


To understand what Amazon is doing when it comes to electronic health records (EHRs), and additionally where they are investing resources when it comes to EHR (Electronic Health Records). At a high level to understand what Amazon's strategy is as it relates to EHR's to know how competitive they may be with other startups focused in the EHR category. As well, based on a subsequent emailed in addition to this project that is not included in the chat, to also understand for Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and Apple what products and/or services these companies currently offer as it relates to healthcare data or EHRs.

Early Findings

Amazon: Products/Services Relating to Healthcare Data and/or EHRs

  • Amazon is taking a big step into the healthcare industry by implementing a new machine learning service that can extract meaningful information from unstructured EHR data and free-text clinical notes. Amazon is, in effect, selling new software designed to mine medical data in EHRs to provide physicians and hospitals with information they could use to reduce costs and improve care. "Amazon Comprehend Medical, [is] a new HIPAA-eligible machine learning service that allows developers to process unstructured medical text and identify information such as patient diagnosis, treatments, dosages, symptoms and signs, and more."
  • Amazon Comprehend Medical will allow developers to comb through unstructured electronic health record data to pull out key clinical terms related to a patient’s diagnoses, medications, symptoms, treatments, and other interactions with the healthcare system.
  • The company hopes the new offering will democratize access to advanced machine learning by reducing the need for custom-built solutions and extensive one-off programming for specific projects.
  • Electronic health record (EHR) vendor Cerner named Amazon Web Services its preferred cloud provider. As Cerner controls more than a quarter of the market for EHR systems, which serve as the nexus for patient data within hospitals, this is a big win for Amazon. Cerner said that "modernizing its platform would clear the way for more APIs that can be built to leverage healthcare data."
  • Amazon is already putting its machine learning skills to the test in a partnership with Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The two organizations are working together to better match patients with clinical trials for cancer therapies. With the machine learning service, the cancer center was able to significantly reduce the time required to sort through patients who may be eligible for clinical trials based on their conditions and medical histories. By leveraging the machine learning tool, Fred Hutchinson was able to process millions of records in hours instead of days.
  • The new offering positions Amazon perfectly to compete with other analytics service providers, perhaps most notably, UnitedHealthcare’s Optum, and to support its partnership with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.
  • According to Jennifer Stemmler, account IT executive, innovation and strategy at Adventist Health, "There is going to be more focus on consumerism and how to meet patients where they are outside the four walls of the hospital. And there will be a focus on meeting the technology demands to accomplish that. Amazon set the standard for consumer expectations, and that’s a new challenge for what IT has to deliver."
  • On November 14th, 2019, "Deloitte announced its work with AWS Data Exchange, which is a new service that makes it easier for millions of Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers to securely find, subscribe to and use third-party data in the cloud. Building on its existing relationship with AWS, Deloitte is addressing unique healthcare data challenges by providing a suite of services integrated with AWS Data Exchange that can help create an efficient, robust and secure healthcare data ecosystem and apply that to the transformation of biomedical research, clinical trials, real-world data insights, population health and reimbursement."

General Information

  • In August 2018, executives from Microsoft, Amazon, Google, IBM, Oracle, and Salesforce came together to promote data sharing in healthcare. Nearly a year later, the world’s largest tech companies aren’t showing any signs of slowing.
  • On July 30th, 2019, these companies put their weight behind a regulatory effort to update rules governing health data by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “As a technology community, we believe that a forward-thinking API strategy as outlined in the proposed rules will advance the ability for all organizations to build and deploy novel applications to the benefit of patients, care providers, and administrators alike,” the companies wrote in a joint statement.
  • According to Anurag Gupta, a VP at Gartner, there are three reasons why healthcare is of interest to tech's big names. "The first is its size: the industry is huge, and demand for its services is growing. The second: it's an industry filled with waste and inefficiency. The third is our changing perceptions and expectations as consumers: while retailers and other industries have become more responsive and customer focused, the health industry has consistently failed to keep pace."
  • In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address the stated goals.

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • In our first hour of research, we focused on Amazon, as well as some general high level findings for all the provided companies. We also assessed the landscape of the goals in the ask, and confirmed that there is plenty of publicly available information for all companies and all aspects of the questions.
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