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New Data Archiving Service for Healthcare Providers

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 28 Jul 2021
Amazon Web Services (AWS; Seattle, WA, USA) has made available its HealthLake cloud-based data repository for use by healthcare and life sciences organizations.

Designed to help providers organize and store data from multiple clinical silos into a single "data lake", the service normalizes data by identifying each piece of clinical information and tagging and indexing it in a timeline view with standardized labels, using machine learning (ML) algorithms that have been trained to understand medical terminology. It also indexes all events into a timeline view and enriches data with standardized labels, such as if the data applies to medications, conditions, diagnoses, or procedures, so all the information can be easily searched.

Image: The HealthLake cloud-based data repository organizes massive medical data (Photo courtesy of AWS)
Image: The HealthLake cloud-based data repository organizes massive medical data (Photo courtesy of AWS)

All data in HealthLake are formatted using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) industry standard, which facilitates a complete view of the health of individual patients and entire populations. By aggregating clinical data into the FHIR format, providers will be able to take a step toward standardizing structured data. However, the majority of health data remains unstructured and still needs to be tagged, indexed, and structured in chronological order to make all of the data understandable and able to query, which is accomplished by HealthLake.

Tools that can be used to analyze the data include Amazon QuickSight, which supports analysis of patient and population-level trends, Amazon SageMaker, which helps clinicians predict disease progression, and other third-party applications. Healthlake can also be used in order to improve hospital efficiency by applying ML and advanced analytics to newly structured data, thus optimizing appointment scheduling, reducing unnecessary procedures, and predicting hospital bed availability.

“Amazon HealthLake … has enabled us to quickly store disparate data from multiple data sources in FHIR format in order to gain critical insights in to the care of COVID-19 patients,” said Bala Hota, MD, chief analytics officer at Rush University Medical Center (Chicago, IL, USA). “We have also used HealthLake’s integrated natural language processing to extract information such as medication, diagnosis, and previous conditions from doctors’ clinical notes and enrich patient records to examine barriers to healthcare access, providing our researchers additional data points for analytics.”

Amazon has worked with multiple partners on HealthLake, including 3M, Anthem, AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Cerner, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, GE Healthcare, Infor, Pfizer, and Philips. Early users for HealthLake include Rush University Medical Center, Cortica, InterSystems, and Redox.

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