It is quite possible that you wouldn’t have come across Amazon Web Services (AWS) before reading this post if you don’t work on the internet, yet arguably it is the biggest part of Amazon’s business – in essence think of it as the information branch of Amazon. They provide data analytics, AI, cloud based web services, database and development tools the list is quite extensive as is the list of companies which use AWS. Even Netflix, a direct competitor of Amazon in the media streaming business uses AWS, it is an absolute behemoth in the machine learning and cloud based computing stakes. The latest organisation to partner with AWS is the NHS.
The idea behind this collaboration is that NHS service users will be able to access reliable health information through voice assisted technology. This will aid patients, particularly the elderly and blind, who cannot access the information through traditional means. This is very much in line with the NHS Long Term Plan which aims to make more NHS services available digitally and potentially even simple diagnostic help.
This isn’t the first example of healthcare records, information and data being shared with one of the big tech companies. Last year we shared a story about Apple being able to access health records from some of the biggest insurance and hospitals in the US through their health app. This was a move by Apple in response to the increasing demands by consumers to have easy and immediate access to their medical information and the feeling that the infrastructure can not match this demand.
Different tech companies accessing patient data is something we are certainly going to see more of in the near future, not only because of the pressure for readily accessible information by consumers but because of how powerful this data is. You don’t need to think back far in recent history to see how powerful data is, even on something as simple as a personality test on Facebook. Cambridge Analytica was able to transform the way ads were targeted at individuals. Just make sure you read those T&Cs before sharing your health data.