Amazon develops a new health team for its Alexa division
Following on from its partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and J. P. Morgan, Amazon has been continually looking at opportunities to enter the healthcare industry.
Causing stocks to plunge across the pharmaceutical industry, to working with existing healthcare providers in a number of initiatives, the e-commerce giant is set to explore the potential of its voice-recognition technology further through its new health and wellness team.
CNBC has previously reported that the company has recently launched its new team within its Alexa division, which will be spearheaded by Rachel Jiang.
However, with the vast number of complex HIPAA regulations, and data protection laws, in particular, the newly implemented GDPR rulings within Europe, the company has a tough hill to climb.
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With this in mind, Amazon appointed former Chief Health Informatics Officer, Taha Kass-Hout, who will work alongside Babak Parviz to provide strategic direction and overall oversight of data, analytics and digital health initiatives.
The new team under the Alexa division, named Alexa Domains, will enable the technology to share essential data with healthcare professionals and support new parents, the elderly, and those with long-term health conditions, such as diabetes.
At present, Amazon’s Alexa is being harnessed by a number of healthcare providers across the US, such as The Mayo Clinic, but is also being utilised in the United Kingdom in initiatives to promote breastfeeding. Additionally, Libertana Home Health Care has sought to trial Alexa is a home health care support for the elderly, Slate has reported.
Amazon’s venture into support those with long-term healthcare conditions is not new. Last year, the company sought to partner with Merck to offer a prize to the successful developer who could utilise Alexa ‘skills’ to support those with diabetes. The successful company, Wellpepper’s platform, Sugar Pod, was supported by both companies.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”