Amazon’s New Healthcare Venture: Insurance, Drugs, or Something Else?

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of electronic health records software. (Amazon and Cerner have yet to announce a major agreement following the report’s publication.)

Separately, in September, one of Cerner’s competitors, Verona, WI-based Epic Systems, demonstrated how a patient might use Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant to order a prescription refill and perform other tasks.

Travis Good, co-founder and CEO of Datica, a healthtech startup based in Madison, WI, last month told Xconomy that “in the next 12 months to 24 months, Amazon is going to strongly move into healthcare.”

“I think Amazon is going to be doing a lot more with both pharmacy—that’s kind of the obvious one today—but also with things around healthcare data,” said Good, whose company helps set up connections between computerized patient records systems at hospitals and independent software applications.

Many hospitals and healthcare businesses already use Amazon Web Services to host their data, Good said. Renting space in a data center is often a more attractive option than the alternatives of hosting data locally or building your own data center, he added.

“Amazon plays a massive role for healthcare in enabling not just healthtech vendors but big enterprises—hospitals and payers and everybody else—to get out of the data center business and focus on what they do” best, Good said.

It remains to be seen whether Amazon’s latest push into healthcare will focus on health insurance, prescription drugs, or a combination of multiple areas. Whichever direction it goes, lots of people in the world of healthcare—and beyond—are paying close attention.

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Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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