- Amazon reportedly has a stealth team working on EHRs and telemedicine.
- The secret Seattle-based team, referred to as 1492 in reference to Columbus’ landing in the Americas, is focused on both hardware and software projects, CNBC reported, which spoke to two people familiar with the effort.
- It’s unclear if Amazon is building any new health devices, according to CNBC.
The Amazon team is reportedly exploring ways to make EHR data more available to doctors and consumers. It is also eyeing the growing field of telemedicine, hoping to build a platform that would facilitate virtual visits between doctors and patients.
CNBC’s initial report on Wednesday cited job listings for 1492 on Amazon’s job site as well as team members who had mentioned their affiliation on LinkedIn. Those included two machine learning experts, a UX designer and two strategic initiative leads. By Thursday, those references had all been taken down, CNBC reported.
If the reports on Amazon’s health dabblings are true, the company will join other Silicon Valley heavyweights that are developing disruptive solutions in the space. Other key players include Apple and Microsoft.
Amazon’s secret mission echoes a CNBC report this past spring of a secretive Apple team reported to developing noninvasive sensors for diabetes management. According to that report, Apple was already running feasibility tests at Bay Area clinical sites and had consultants helping it navigate potential medical device regulatory requirements.
Apple went on a bit of a healthcare hiring jag last year, snatching up health IT expert Dr, Ricky Bloomfield from Duke University and Toronto physician Mike Evans, previously head of digital preventive medicine at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. The company also hired Stanford University pediatric endocrinologist Rajiv Kumar, who used HealthKit to help patients manage diabetes, and Sage Bionetworks President and co-founder Stephen Friend. Sage developed the data infrastructure for some of ResearchKit’s apps.
As both companies are historically secretive about their business plans and products, this could be a slow immersion for the companies into the space in lieu of a big, comprehensive product reveal. The health IT industry is keeping an eye on their movements and how their dedication to the space plays out.