AI, virtual care solidify Amazon's healthcare presence

Amazon is continuing its push into the healthcare sector with two major strategic initiatives launched in recent weeks.

In July, Amazon joined rivals Microsoft and Google in the increasingly crowded healthcare AI space. Amazon Web Services' HealthScribe tools are designed to save clinicians time by creating documents with generative and speech recognition AI. 

While the tool is already being used by customers such as 3M Health Information Systems, Babylon and ScribeEMR, healthcare leaders told Becker's that it could have a way to go before it can disrupt Microsoft's more established healthcare AI offerings.

"I think Nuance (a software and conversational AI company owned by Microsoft) has an edge because they have been deployed for a long time," said Shafiq Rab, MD, CIO and chief digital officer at Boston-based Tufts Medicine, an AWS partner.

Amazon plans to incorporate clinician feedback into its AI offerings as it continues its rollout of HealthScribe. 

"We update the underlying technology based on the feedback that we're getting," Tehsin Syed, general manager of health AI at AWS, told CNBC. "From an adoption perspective, I think there's a lot of interest, and we want to be very careful about making sure it's going to work at scale in the right way." 

Beyond AI, Amazon has also broadened its virtual care reach. On Aug. 1, the company announced that its virtual care connection service, Amazon Clinic, was expanding nationwide. The service works to connect patients with virtual care for common conditions, such as urinary tract infections, pink eye and erectile dysfunction.

The company is still facing questions about how it will protect customers' health data and other hiccups as it broadens its healthcare reach. In July, Amazon continued laying off workers in its healthcare units. 

Despite the roadblocks, there are still clear signs that Amazon is prioritizing healthcare as an area of long-term growth and focus. For the first time, Amazon discounted its healthcare offerings on Prime Day by offering users a reduced cost for One Medical membership.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars