How Amazon Internet Companies is powering medtech innovation

How Amazon Internet Companies is powering medtech innovation


A smiling portrait of AWS Chief Medical Officer Taha Kass-Hout Amazon Web Services

Dr. Taha Kass-Hout is the chief medical officer and director of machine studying at Amazon Internet Companies (Photograph courtesy of Amazon)

It doesn’t get any larger than Amazon Internet Companies on the earth of cloud computing.
The cloud computing enterprise at Seattle-based (Nasdaq: AMZN) is the most important participant within the trade, with management of a few third of the market and a big lead over cloud rivals Microsoft and Google.

Dr. Taha Kass-Hout, the chief medical officer and director of machine studying at AWS, spoke with Medical Design & Outsourcing as a part of an ongoing sequence of conversations about cloud computing’s contributions to medtech and the potential forward.

“The longer term is shiny for anybody who’s attempting to unravel issues in healthcare and life science globally,” he stated.

This dialog has been edited for readability and size.

MDO: What do you do at AWS?

Kass-Hout: My position includes the intersection of understanding buyer issues and healthcare, life sciences and genomics prospects, in addition to payers and the way the cloud basically, knowledge providers, machine studying and AI providers will help them undertake the cloud in ways in which assist clear up these issues. I’ve been at Amazon for the final 5 years now.

MDO: How lengthy have you ever been within the medical and know-how industries?

Kass-Hout: Gosh, over 27 years now. It’s been a very long time. I additionally served within the Obama administration’s second time period within the FDA as chief well being informatics officer and led many developments that contain the cloud and in addition to machine studying and methods to make use of improvements to advance regulatory science in addition to advances in manufacturing, advances in medical units and medicines and postmarket surveillance and utilizing massive knowledge and AI to assist with that.

MDO: What are some shocking and inspirational examples of what cloud computing permits with regard to medical gadget design, manufacturing and capabilities/efficiency?

Kass-Hout: Ambra Well being used AWS to increase its software program as a service medical imaging knowledge platform to 5 new international locations so as to meet strict knowledge safety necessities. Butterfly Community is an innovator with Butterfly iQ, one of many first handheld whole-body ultrasound methods that makes use of AWS for making medical imaging universally accessible and inexpensive, offering a customized expertise for healthcare suppliers at drastically decrease price. We’re seeing increasingly innovation, particularly spurred by COVID-19. That basically helped speed up the adoption of the cloud and appreciation of the dimensions and how one can begin closing gaps in care globally.

MDO: What are some beforehand unthinkable advances that now appear more and more prone to change into a actuality?

Kass-Hout: Take a look at Moderna. Moderna was born within the cloud, however after they have been based, they acknowledged that if mRNA works for one utility, it’ll work for numerous extra. You simply want to vary the knowledge or the programming encoded to the brand new utility, mainly to the cells. So that they purposely designed the corporate with a platform strategy, and that actually moved the needle within the trade from a bespoke strategy to extra of a platform strategy, the place they didn’t design for one illness and even one therapeutic space. They constructed with intention of focusing on numerous illnesses. That led them to design their processes to be excessive throughput, and so they built-in digital well being and AI algorithms so as to speed up their R&D cycles and provides them unprecedented scale all the way in which to automating logistic choices equivalent to manufacturing with clever sensors and demand forecasting. However what’s actually neat is its work on the vaccine for the novel coronavirus genetic sequence. When that was made out there, inside just a few days they have been in a position to finalize the sequence for its RNA vaccine in partnership with the Nationwide Institutes of Well being. After which, they began manufacturing the primary medical grade batch of vaccines inside two months of finishing the sequencing. A course of that traditionally has taken as much as 10 years, we’ve seen now they’re in a position to do this in days or perhaps weeks. And on the finish of the yr, the identical design of the protein that was accredited by or approved by the FDA is similar factor they got here up with earlier within the yr. So you possibly can actually see how they’re enabling fast experimentation cycles of the design of mRNA and DNA sequencing and automating high quality management knowledge evaluation, saving numerous (hours) of handbook assessment and the way they’re actually revolutionizing this subject. And now they’re taking the identical they’ve achieved for the vaccine into most cancers therapeutics therapies and personalised vaccines for most cancers.

MDO: What does cloud computing imply for the way medical gadget designers and engineers must be considering?

Kass-Hout: Well being methods produce petabytes of unstructured knowledge every single day, and it’s rising exponentially. So if you wish to begin organizing the knowledge so as to design round it, this large data contains medical paperwork, lab reviews, imaging reviews, handwritten reviews and varieties, and tables like insurance coverage claims. You then take a look at extra broadly medical units in addition to monitoring units producing petabytes of knowledge every single day, medical imaging and all form of varieties and codecs of well being knowledge. This knowledge shouldn’t be simple to make use of or analyze, and for the time being 97% of this unstructured knowledge is unused because it’s tough to construction and index and analyze. The cloud helps a variety of these organizations make sense of all this knowledge so as to present the most important alternative to rework care. This transformation will primarily rely upon knowledge flowing the place it must go. All of it comes right down to interoperability.

MDO: What kind of massive, futuristic goals do these or different developments encourage?

Kass-Hout: Fairness in care. How can we take all this data to offer extra equitable care? Healthcare is a $7.5 trillion enterprise globally, but greater than 4 billion folks don’t have entry to care — neglect about high-quality care, simply entry to care basically. I imagine AI and know-how must be a part of an answer to creating that extra equitable entry. The way forward for healthcare is so vibrant and dynamic proper now. It’s so depending on massive knowledge, on AI and on cloud computing. Promising improvements like precision medication, conversational chat bots, clever scribes, and APIs for knowledge and interoperability could make healthcare higher and extra environment friendly and extra equitable sooner or later.

Learn extra from our conversations with leaders at firms equivalent to Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Philips, Google, GE Healthcare and Delta Improvement.

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