Amazon partners with Harvard to leverage AI, machine learning for better workflow

Amazon has extended a grant valued at $2 million to Harvard Medical School so researchers can experiment with machine learning and AI to streamline clinical workflow, Bloomberg reported March 4.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center started purchasing Amazon’s cloud services in 2016 in an effort to ensure the hospital’s data remained safe and accessible in the case of an emergency, according to Bloomberg. Three years later, Amazon’s Web Services unit is working with Beth Israel to make day-to-day tasks like patient scheduling and finding paperwork more cost-effective and efficient.

It’s well-known that scientists hope to leverage AI and machine learning for better-quality care and quicker, more accurate diagnoses, but Taha Kass-Hout, the senior leader for healthcare and AI at Amazon, said Beth Israel will first focus on alleviating time-consuming manual work so physicians and their staff can better focus on quality.

“They’re identifying the right problems where machine learning truly can help,” Kass-Hout told Bloomberg.

Amazon isn’t alone in its healthcare push—other major companies like Apple and Google have been making their mark in the space, as well. The U.S. healthcare market is currently valued at $3.5 trillion, and equity funding for healthcare-related AI ventures reached $2.4 billion in 2018, a 78 percent increase from the previous year.

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