Amazon sends further shockwaves by reportedly developing its own health clinics
Amazon is continually looking to disrupt the healthcare industry since it revealed its partnership with J.P Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway at the start of this year, with the aim to lower escalating healthcare costs.
Following Apple’s lead, CNBC has reported that the business is now set to develop clinics for its employees at its Seattle headquarters in order to promote quality care and exceptional employee health and wellbeing.
Hiring globally renowned surgeon, writer and public health innovator, Dr Atul Gawande as its new Chief Executive Officer in its unnamed joint venture, the trio will seek to drive down healthcare costs, implement a number of digital solutions to deliver transparency and “align payment incentives with health outcomes,” according to JPMorgan’s annual shareholder letter.
“As employers and as leaders, addressing healthcare is one of the most important things we can do for our employees and their families, as well as for the communities where we all work and live. Together, we have the talent and resources to make things better, and it is our responsibility to do so.
“We’re so fortunate to have attracted such an extraordinary leader and innovator as Atul,” Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Dimon, J.P Morgan Chase has previously stated.
Appointing healthcare giants Christine Hennigsgaard and Martin Levine, Amazon is set to appoint a number of physicians to its new pilot programme, in order to cater to a select number of employees. If successful, the programme will be expanded across the business, catering to up to 40,000 employees in Seattle alone.
“More and more people and entities that pay for healthcare — employers being a big chunk of that — are realising the critical role that primary care plays in both improving population health but really driving down total cost of care,” added Ryan Schmid, CEO of Vera Whole Health.
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“The move by Amazon to create and manage its own worksite health centers [makes it] part of a growing segment of employers who have decided to take control of the delivery of medical and other services to their covered populations,” noted Larry Boress, executive director of the National Association of Worksite Health Centers.
Acquiring online pharmacy PillPack for just under $1bn, Amazon is committed to driving down healthcare costs, with the pharmaceutical sector being no exception. Catered to those who take multiple daily prescriptions, the move will see Amazon provide rampant competition towards a reduction lowering drug prices across the US.
Additionally, the business has recently partnered with digital prescribing and analytics company Xealth, as well as the hospital networks at Seattle's Providence Health Systems and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in a new pilot programme.
"They have continually expanded their business model and today they are a leader in cloud computing, a provider of in-home services and a bricks-and-mortar food purveyor in addition to their ecommerce offerings.
“They have repeatedly shown that they have the capabilities, the patience, and the deep pockets to disrupt industry after industry. Healthcare is no exception."
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.”