Amazon appoints FDA’s first FDA Chief Health Informatics Officer to its health team
It has been announced that Amazon has recently appointed healthcare magnate Taha Kass-Hout to its healthcare team, reportedly named 1492.
With extensive experience across the healthcare sector, Kass-Hout is set to work alongside Babak Parviz to further Amazon’s various projects in this space.
Working as Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Health and Intelligence Officer at Trinity Health up to May last year, Kass-Hout was responsible for setting the vision, strategic direction and overall oversight of data, analytics and digital health initiatives, according to LinkedIn.
Previously, he also worked as FDA’s first Chief Health Informatics Officer for over three years.
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Amazon is slowly moving into the healthcare sector, with the launch of its Alexa assistant, which is now harnessed within a number of healthcare initiatives. Additionally, the company’s recent partnership with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway highlights the e-commerce giant’s increased interest in healthcare, yet is keeping its own internal operations under wraps.
Nonetheless, the company will face a number of complex hurtles surrounding ongoing regulations, particularly with the security of healthcare data and the need for increased data sharing across a number of healthcare platforms.
Kass-Hout’s work as a Harvard-trained physician and role as Director of Health Informatics Solutions and Operations will become advantageous as Amazon looks to navigate such issues whilst implementating new digital tools. The company is reportedly entering the pharmaceutical distribution sector, and aims to lower healthcare costs for US citizens.
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.