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Amazon launches HealthLake in general availability

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Amazon today announced the general availability of HealthLake, a HIPAA-eligible (compliant by default) service for health care and life sciences organizations to ingest, store, query, and analyze health data. First launched in preview last December at Amazon’s re:Invent conference, HealthLake leverages machine learning to extract medical information from unstructured data and organize, index, and store that information in chronological order.

Health care organizations are increasingly embracing emerging technologies, including the cloud and big data analytics. In a recent survey, 95% of executives in the industry said trends like automation, cybersecurity, and hybrid cloud will impact how they provide patient care in the future. Cost savings is a motivator — particularly when it comes to the cloud. One report found that 88% of health care organizations using cloud computing have reduced IT costs by an average of 20% annually.

Analyzing health data

HealthLake, a new service that’s part of Amazon’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) for Health portfolio, moves health data from on-premises systems to a data lake in the AWS cloud. Amazon says HealthLake uses “specially tuned” machine learning models to understand medical terminology and identify and tag clinical information. The service then enriches data with standardized labels for medications, conditions, diagnoses, and more.

HealthLake also indexes events like patient visits into a single timeline, allowing customers to apply analytics and machine learning on top. And it recognizes interoperability standards, including the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), a standard format to enable data sharing of health systems in a consistent format.

“More and more of our customers in the health care and life sciences space are looking to organize and make sense of their reams of data but are finding this process challenging and cumbersome,” Amazon machine learning for AWS VP Swami Sivasubramanian said in a press release. “We built Amazon HealthLake to remove this heavy lifting for health care organizations so they can transform health data in the cloud in minutes and begin analyzing that information securely at scale. Alongside AWS for Health, we’re excited about how Amazon HealthLake can help medical providers, health insurers, and pharmaceutical companies provide patients and populations with data-driven, personalized, and predictive care.”

Amazon HealthLake is available today in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), and US West (Oregon) AWS server regions, with additional availability coming soon.

Amazon views AI in health care as a frontier worth exploring — and perhaps its next major revenue driver. The AI in health care market is anticipated to reach $19.25 billion by 2026, driven in part by demand for telemedical and remote monitoring services. The launch of HealthLake comes a year after Amazon debuted Transcribe Medical, a service that’s designed to transcribe medical speech for clinical staff in primary care settings. And in 2018, Amazon made three AWS offerings HIPAA-eligible — Transcribe, Translate, and Comprehend — following rival Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

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