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."
Introducing Dosis - the AI powered dosing platform
Cloud-based platform Dosis uses AI to help patients and clinicians tailor their medication plans. Shivrat Chhabra, CEO and co-founder, tells us how it works.
When and why was Dosis founded?
Divya, my co-founder and I founded Dosis in 2017 with the purpose of creating a personalised dosing platform. We see personalisation in so many aspects of our lives, but not in the amount of medication we receive. We came across some research at the University of Louisville that personalised the dosing of a class of drugs called ESAs that are used to treat chronic anaemia. We thought, if commercialised, this could greatly benefit the healthcare industry by introducing precision medicine to drug dosing.
The research also showed that by taking this personalised approach, less drugs were needed to achieve the same or better outcomes. That meant that patients were exposed to less medication, so there was a lower likelihood of side effects. It also meant that the cost of care was reduced.
What is the Strategic Anemia Advisor?
Dosis’s flagship product, Strategic Anemia Advisor (SAA), personalises the dosing of Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). ESAs are a class of drugs used to treat chronic anaemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.
SAA takes into account a patient’s previous ESA doses and lab levels, determines the patient’s unique response to the drug and outputs an ESA dose recommendation to keep the patient within a specified therapeutic target range. Healthcare providers use SAA as a clinical decision support tool.
What else is Dosis working on?
In the near term, we are working on releasing a personalised dosing module for IV iron, another drug that’s used in tandem with ESAs to treat chronic anaemia. We’re also working on personalising the dosing for the three drugs used to treat Mineral Bone Disorder. We’re very excited to expand our platform to these new drugs.
What are Dosis' strategic goals for the next 2-3 years?
We strongly believe that personalised dosing will be the standard of care within the next decade, and we’re honored to be a part of making that future a reality. In the next few years, we see Dosis entering partnerships with other companies that operate within value-based care environments, where tools like ours that help reduce cost while maintaining or improving outcomes are extremely useful.
What do you think AI's greatest benefits to healthcare are?
If designed well, AI in healthcare allows for a practical and usable way to deploy solutions that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, it’s possible for someone to manually solve the mathematical equations necessary to personalise drug dosing, but it is just not practical. AI in healthcare offers an exciting path forward for implementing solutions that for so long have appeared impractical or impossible.