Amazon, IBM, Microsoft have access to millions of medical records: WSJ

Amazon Web Services, IBM and Microsoft are among the big tech companies to make deals with hospitals and health systems to analyze patients' medical records in order to develop new solutions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft signed an agreement with Renton, Wash.-based Providence St. Joseph Health, which records around 20 million patient visits annually. The medical records being shared with Microsoft have not been stripped of personally identifiable information. While Providence St. Joseph Health originally said that information shared with Microsoft would be deidentified, health system CIO said that was not possible. Microsoft is using the patient data and physician notes to develop cancer algorithms.

"It was not intended to mislead," Providence St. Joseph Health CIO B.J. Moore, said, according to WSJ.

Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital partnered with IBM. In the deal, IBM is using patient data to create artificial intelligence that will allow clinicians to share data for specific requests. As of now, Brigham and Women's Hospital has not shared personally identifiable information, reports WSJ.

Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center signed a deal with Amazon Web Services that gives the tech company permission to access patients' health information. AWS is using that data to design software that can read medical notes.

While these deals may raise concerns for patients and providers, there is no indication of wrongdoing. Under HIPAA, hospitals are allowed to share data with business partners without asking for patients' permission.

This may be just the beginning of hospitals becoming brokers to tech companies as the data hospitals store becomes more lucrative.

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