Amazon has started a skunkworks lab headquartered in the company’s Seattle home base to work on healthcare technology innovations. Dubbed 1492, the lab is focusing on both hardware and software projects, including pulling data from existing electronic medical records and telemedicine projects. The idea is to make this data more readily available to both patients and healthcare professionals.
A separate Amazon team is also purportedly working on selling pharmaceuticals. There is also speculation that Amazon is exploring a telemedicine platform to facilitate easier virtual consultations.
Though Amazon hasn’t previously been significantly involved in the healthcare sector, 1492 has already been experimenting with possible healthcare applications for existing hardware such as Echo and Dash Wand.
Despite the secrecy, Amazon has already been hiring for 1492. Positions are searchable using the keyword “a1.492.” Jobs available include a UX manager and a machine learning director.
Other Amazon departments are also working on healthcare initiatives. Amazon Web Services recently invested heavily in GRAIL, as well as hiring and building relationships with other health experts. Additionally, increased efficiency is being explored via more meeting with the senior leadership of these partners.
“Anyone who aspires to help consumers navigate our health system and is digitally capable should find the market conditions ripe for entry,” commented former White House CTO Aneesh Chopra. As the first-ever Chief Technology Officer of the US, Chopra was heavily involved in digital health innovations during his time in office.
Other big-name companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft have also expressed interest in the digital healthcare industry. But Amazon has made the biggest strides so far.
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