That’s Billions with a “B”

by Aug 2, 2019Health Informatics Technology0 comments

Amazon Comprehend Medical

Photo by Tony Webster

In April 2016, Amazon teamed up with Boston Children’s Hospital to administer health advice by way of Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa. Since then, Amazon has continued to accelerate its commitment to digital healthcare, health services, and technology that supports both. One of its most recent developments, Amazon Comprehend Medical, empowers artificially intelligent devices through machine learning- a segment of the U.S healthcare industry with a projected value in excess of $6.6 billion by 2021. The patient experience we imagined for a distant future may be closer than we think.

Amazon Comprehend Medical

Introduced in 2018, Amazon Comprehend Medical aimed to simplify and improve the patient/provider experience in healthcare with its machine learning software. This software is capable of translating limitless amounts of “unstructured data” (i.e. doctor’s notes, medical text, patient hospital records, etc) and analyzing the information to successfully deliver more efficient care.

“The value of machine learning in healthcare is its ability to process huge datasets beyond the scope of human capability, and then reliably convert analysis of that data into clinical insights that aid physicians in planning and providing care, ultimately leading to better outcomes, lower costs of care, and increased patient satisfaction.”


Ed Corbett, MD
Medical Officer, Health Catalyst

Amazon is leveraging the power of machine learning through Comprehend Medical to support a variety of healthcare occupational groups such as providers, insurers, clinical researchers, pharmaceutical, health informaticists, and biotech professionals. The software aims to “improve clinical decision support, streamline revenue cycle and clinical trial management, and better address data privacy and protected health information (PHI) requirements” according to Dr. Taha A. Kass-Hout, senior leader on the Amazon Comprehend Medical expansion.

Read more: Patients Demand Access to PHI

Using technology, providers are able to more accurately and quickly identify medical conditions, diagnosis, recommend treatment(s), and possibly administer procedures for faster results. The following three steps can dramatically enhance the patient experience:




Unstructured data and medical text is loaded into Comprehend medical.Comprehend Medical analyzes input, identifies medical information.Software recognizes relationships among extracted data and proceeds with treatment, diagnosis, conditions, and medications.


Machine Learning is the Foundation of AI

With Amazon’s explosive success has come watchful eyes that are interested to see what its next pursuits will be. Although their mission to invest more heavily in health informatics and health technology began over three years ago, the new Amazon Comprehend Medical reinforces the fact that the strong artificial intelligence engine provides healthcare and that it is quickly becoming the central system for professionals in the field.

Read more: Top Tech Enters Healthcare Race

As AI expands across varying fields of use, healthcare continues to find unique, transformative, and economic solutions through this computer software. Rooted at the foundation of AI is machine learning and without it, the operations of AI toolkits diminish.

*Based on 2017 market research conducted by Accenture.

Amazon Upgrades its Commitment to Health Technology 

In 2018, Amazon officially entered into a partnership with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to establish its own nonprofit healthcare entity. Earlier this year, Amazon titled the entity Haven. This collaboration was just one of Amazon’s many pursuits in the health field, with others including:

  • An offering of over-the-counter healthcare product called Basic Care
  • The acquisition of online pharmacy company Pill Pack
  • The creation of a team of health informatics experts called Gran Challenge, led by former FDA Chief Health Informatics Officer Taha Kasshout
  • Comprehend Medical feature added to Amazon Comprehend Software

Within its first year, Comprehend Medical has already brokered and maintained successful relationships with Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, Roche Diagnostics, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and many others to showcase the system’s capabilities in health technology.

Amazon continues to strengthen its presence across what feels like every industry of daily life. As healthcare continues to be the #1 contributor to the U.S. economy, this will inevitably turn profitable for the American company. The company’s challenge will soon turn to recruiting key, skilled experts in health informatics that can support, sustain, and advance this effort.