Amazon adds to its list of HIPAA-eligible machine learning tools

By | November 9, 2018

In yet another move into the healthcare space, Amazon Web Service (AWS) has added to its collection of HIPAA-eligible services, which now includes machine learning tools Amazon Translate, Amazon Comprehend and Amazon Transcribe. 

“To support our healthcare customers, AWS HIPAA-eligible services enable covered entities and their business associates subject to HIPAA to use the secure AWS environment to process, maintain and store protected health information,” Vasi Philomin, the general manager for machine learning and AI at Amazon, wrote in a blog post

The newly HIPAA-eligible products cater to a variety of different health needs, but primarily center around management and patient engagement. Amazon Transcribe is a speech-to-text service; with this new designation, it will be able to create a transcript of a provider-patient call. The Amazon Translate technology can now be employed to help doctors and patients communicate regardless of language barriers. Lastly, Amazon Comprehend analyzes patient-provider conversations and zeros in on specific “key phrases” to improve patient interactions in the future. 

As Philomin noted in his blog post, several Amazon products have already landed the HIPAA designation, including Amazon Polly, Amazon SageMaker and Amazon Rekognition. 

Why it matters

In recent years consumer technology companies have turned to digital health. Silicon Valley giants Apple, Google and Amazon have all made moves into health. With each announcement, more is revealed about where each company is going in the future. 

What’s the trend 

In October Amazon announced that it will now exclusively sell Arcadia’s new line of consumer-use medical devices, called the Choice brand. The brand will kick off with a blood glucose and blood pressure monitors, which have accompanying apps. 

Amazon has also been moving its way into the space through acquisitions. Recently it acquired virtual pharmacy PillPack, which positioned the company to expand its services to include prescription medication. 

Amazon made headlines last year when it inked a deal with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan to build a nonprofit healthcare company focused on tech with the goal of increasing user satisfaction and reducing costs. 

In June the partners named Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as CEO, and announced that the nonprofit will be based in Boston.

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