Amazon software now scrutinises patient health records, providing long-term advantages
Technology giants are continually looking at ways to enter the healthcare space. Announcing its acquisition of PillPack earlier this year, as well as its partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan, Amazon sent shockwaves through the industry, leading pharmaceutical shares to plunge.
Growing ageing populations and the increased complexities in delivering high quality patient care has presented a myriad of challenges, one of which technology can deliver a plethora of advantages. Present challenges, such as interoperability, high patient costs and a fragmented delivery of care is something in which both traditional and digital players are seeking to explore and place significant investment.
Through the introduction of Amazon’s Comprehend Medical solution, the company will “have the potential to retrieve and present relevant information to clinicians when they’re making treatment decisions. The tools could also aid with recruiting patients for clinical trials and managing these studies once they’re underway,” according to a recent blog post.
Analysing and highlighting medical conditions, the use of machine learning, natural language processing, algorithms and big data within clinical settings will open the doors for the introduction of complete personalised patient care and will take the industry into a new age. Amazon’s tool is so advanced it is now even able to understand medical abbreviations and key characteristics placed within a patients’ medical notes, and can help the management of patient medications, schedule GP visits and enable more informed decision making.
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In the blog post, Amazon has also revealed that the company has partnered with Roche Diagnostics and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research in the introduction of Amazon Comprehend Medical.
“Curing cancer is, inherently, an issue of time,” explained Matthew Trunnell, Chief Information Officer, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “For cancer patients and the researchers dedicated to curing them, time is the limiting resource. The process of developing clinical trials and connecting them with the right patients requires research teams to sift through and label mountains of unstructured medical record data. Amazon Comprehend Medical will reduce this time burden from hours per record to seconds.
“This is a vital step toward getting researchers rapid access to the information they need when they need it so they can find actionable insights to advance lifesaving therapies for patients.”
“Roche’s NAVIFY decision support portfolio provides solutions that accelerate research and enable personalized healthcare. With petabytes of unstructured data being generated in hospital systems every day, our goal is to take this information and convert it into useful insights that can be efficiently accessed and understood,” added Roche Diagnostics Information Solutions Director of Software Engineering Anish Kejariwal.
“Amazon Comprehend Medical provides the functionality to help us with quickly extracting and structuring information from medical documents, so that we can build a comprehensive, longitudinal view of patients, and enable both decision support and population analytics.”
NHS care homes are better than private, report finds
A new survey has found that 60% of people with parents in NHS care homes believe the quality of care has improved, compared to just 49% of respondents with parents in private care facilities.
The survey was conducted by Kepler Vision Technologies, an AI-driven company formed at the University of Amsterdam. It was carried out among UK adults with parents over the age of 75.
Respondents cited more capable care staff and better monitoring systems as being the main reasons for improvement.
However those who do not have parents in assisted living facilities had a different viewpoint - in this case only 35% of respondents believe that NHS facilities are improving, compared to 32% who believe it is only improving in the private sector.
Only 18% of people whose parents live with them or independently believe care home staff are able to look after residents to a good standard.
Kepler Vision say this difference in opinion is due to perceived budget cuts and financial pressures, with 67% of people commenting that a lack of funding has had a negative effect on care in both NHS and private care facilities.
Other key findings of the survey include:
* Out of those who say quality has declined in care homes, 69% say the NHS is dealing with budget cuts and increased financial pressure, while 65% also said that the private system is dealing with these pressures too
* 55% said that they or their parent have money saved specifically to pay for their future care
* 35% said the idea of their parent in a care home makes them feel frightened, although 32% say it makes them feel secure
* 52% are worried about their parent catching COVID
* 47% are worried about their parent being lonely
* 46% are concerned they could fall over alone
The announcement of this research follows the UK government's decision to delay presenting its social care budget till the autumn.
Commenting on the research, Dr Harro Stokman, CEO of Kepler Vision Technologies said: “While it is good to see that people recognise the importance of staff and face-to-face interaction in elderly care, the huge gap in opinion between those with parents in care and those without shows that there are unfair negative perceptions around the residential care space.
"More can and should be done by care homes to give people the confidence that their relatives will receive the very best care - by highlighting the excellent work of staff and how well they are able to monitor resident’s needs with easy-to-use technology.”