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.
COVID-19 app for NHS staff launches as restrictions lift
A new app has launched today to support UK hospital staff who have been redeployed to care for COVID-19 patients.
The Acute COVID app has been co-developed by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and its charity CW+, along with health tech company Imagineear Health.
It provides information to healthcare staff via a step-by-step guide, aimed at both doctors and nurses. This includes the different stages of COVID-19 so they have guidance around triage at A&E, hospital admission, in-hospital treatments, and advanced care management.
The app also provides training on non-invasive ventilation. In the first wave of the pandemic the numbers of patients needing this type of ventilation led to staff who would not normally administer this to patients having to do so.
Additionally the app signposts staff to where they can access mental and physical wellbeing support, acknowledging the levels of staff burnout, particularly among frontline staff, the pandemic has created.
The launch of the app comes on the same day England lifts its COVID-19 restrictions, labelled "freedom day" by some. However infection rates have soared in recent weeks and the move has been fiercely opposed by scientists and doctors, both in the UK and abroad.
In a letter published in medical journal The Lancet backed by 1,200 international scientists, experts called the unlocking "a threat to the world", as allowing infection rates to rise enables the virus to mutate and potentially become resistant to the vaccination.
At the weekend the newly appointed health secretary Sajid Javid announced he had tested positive for coronavirus, and both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the chancellor Rishi Sunak are self-isolating.
Meanwhile in the first week of July more than 500,000 alerts were issued by the NHS Covid-19 app telling people they had been exposed to the virus. As a result businesses are considering cutting their opening hours while staff are self-isolating at home. The government has issued guidance saying that fully vaccinated frontline NHS staff in England will be allowed to carry on working even if they've come into contact with someone with COVID-19.