Amazon Increases Interest, Innovations, and Investments in Telehealth

Healthcare is going through some amazing and radical transformations, while undergoing jarring and monumental shifts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The one constant throughout is that healthcare continues to rapidly evolve in order to meet patients’ needs. Healthcare is becoming an industry driven by tech in many ways – services, patient care solutions, innovations, hardware, imaging, access and more.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the most dominant, foremost cloud computing services in the world, is taking a significant and influential step into healthcare. Amazon knows healthcare is a marketplace ready for the taking, ripe for those who can offer ideal digital solutions.

Amazon, true to style with its uncanny tendency to invest in the next big wave of innovation and investment opportunity, is developing an accelerator program for healthcare startups.  Sai Balasubramanian, M.D., J.D., reports in Forbes that the time for launching Healthcare Accelerators could not be more appropriate.  The AWS program is a 4-week mentorship accelerator opportunity open to U.S.-based healthcare startups or international startups that also have existing U.S. healthcare operations.  The goal of the program is to help companies address all 4 aspects of the AHRQ Quadruple Aim for quality healthcare – better health outcomes, lower costs, improved clinician experience, and better a patient experience.

“Healthcare is going through an existential identity crisis, which certainly has not been helped by a global pandemic, rising healthcare costs, and growing challenges in healthcare access and equity, among numerous other systemic issues.”

One of Amazon’s other ventures, Amazon Care, is an example of its commitment to the healthcare space.  With this new virtual health platform, patients have real-time access to clinicians, with nurses available to come directly to a patient’s home for testing, immunizations, blood draws, and other services.  Another component of the service will deliver Amazon Care prescribed medications right to the patient’s front doorstep.

As noted, Amazon, one of the largest and most influential companies in the world, is rising to the healthcare challenge. The rapid way in which telehealth expanded to meet demand during 2020 is an example of how technology solutions can be used to solve big problems and an indicator of the direction healthcare is moving. Companies are developing data-driven solutions swiftly.  Healthcare organizations that do not adapt place themselves at risk of being left behind in the cyber dust. As healthcare moves digital in many arenas, practices and organizations will certainly need the logistics and tools to adjust their workflows and maintain compliance. When patients are not necessarily face-to-face, digital versions of the clinic consent form, telehealth consent form, HIPAA form, intake documents, and everything in-between need to be at the ready.  Forbes article leaves us with this thought –

“Undoubtedly, companies, organizations, and government entities must invest in and prioritize these initiatives if there is any hope of continuing to stay relevant in healthcare in the years to come.”

With that said, keeping up with digital changes as they evolve will be key to maintaining relevance and sanity as more and more changes appear over the horizon (or dare we say – Over the desk and into the cyber universe!).