AMAZON EXPANDS HEALTHCARE ENTERPRISE WITH ACQUISITION OF HEALTH NAVIGATOR
Amazon ( NASDAQ: AMZN ) continues to trek forward into the healthcare industry with another acquisition — undaunted by Surescripts
Amazon’s healthcare acquisition and partnership expansion continues…
Amazon has purchased a healthcare technology startup known as “Health Navigator”. Health Navigator, based in Chicago, Illinois, is a clinical healthcare information firm founded by an emergency medicine physician, Dr. David Thompson. Dr. Thompson is board certified in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine; his academic background includes the University of Illinois College of Medicine with a residency at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University.
… A healthcare tech startup with multiple capabilities and intriguing attributes …
Some of the key elements as to why Health Navigator is so powerful and why Amazon selected it
There is an array of patient care documentation and medical software solutions in the healthcare marketplace. Many are too narrowly focused on one aspect of the patient care experience or medical specialty, others feature clusters and subsets of what is involved in wider patient care but nothing that can be considered comprehensive. More than one of them is required to form a complete suite of solutions which means clinicians like nurses, nursing assistants, physician assistants, doctors and other have to toggle back and forth between them. This makes for a cumbersome process for each patient visit and contributes to cost, care and training issues; it presents further issues when considered for telehealth applications.
Health Navigator encompasses a deep selection of features which account for the core elements of patient care interaction and documentation:
- After Care Instruction ( ACI ): provides health information and care advice for telehealth patients
- Clinical Documentation Support ( CDS ): a telehealth dialogue tool orchestrating patient visit details including initial patient intake, emergency screening and prioritization, consumer-facing health checker or health bot, CarePath ( formulates questions for patients based on their initial reasons for health visit to begin diagnosis ), consumer e-visit form and provider documentation checklist
- Coded Chief Complaints ( CCC ): supports definition, identification of patient’s primary reason for visit ( RFV ) seeking care
- Diagnosis Engine: a proprietary knowledge-based inference engine or processor generating a list of possible causes or pre-diagnoses for a specific symptom or problem that can be aligned with digital health assistants (health bots, diagnosis symptom checkers) and electronic health records ( EHR or EMR ).
- Natural Language Processing ( NLP ): a digital translator program used in patient and clinician dialogue for visit free-text into the Coded Chief Complaint clinical vocabulary
- Non-Commercial Resource Database: features over 25,000 Internet resources comprised of non-commercial websites linked to more than 2,800 clinical concepts (plus over 7,200 references of which many are directly linked through a PubMedIC )
- Triage Engine: calculates a triage score, level of care recommendation ( disposition ) for use in consumer health bots and triage symptom checker applications
Health Navigator’s features are highly refined with a robust CCC
The CCC rhetoric is precisely detailed, available in eight languages and spans over 470 chief complaints — this empowers Health Navigator to account for over 99% of patient reasons for their healthcare visit. The meta data it is comprised of includes:
- Unique ID
- ICD10-CM, SNOMED coding
- Acuity (severity)
- Type (e.g., Symptom, Injury-Trauma, Disease, Treatment, Exposure)
- System (e.g., Gastrointestinal, Respiratory)
- Clinical documentation element
- Should an image be uploaded? (i.e., e-Visit intake, Telemedicine)
The platform has multiple uses which Amazon can apply for their own use or build out for commercial purposes for customers
Health Navigator works with these and other applications or functional providers:
- Answering Services
- Digital Health Assistants
- Electronic Health Records ( EHR / EMR )
- Medical Call Centers
Some of Health Navigator’s current client partners include Avizia, MDLIVE, Microsoft, NextGen and Rush Medical.
Amazon plans to put Health Navigator to work on its Amazon Care employee medical program
As part of their enterprise-wide rollout internally and externally of healthcare innovation, Amazon will be deploying Health Navigator within its recently launched Amazon Care employee healthcare provider program. Presently, Amazon Care is available only to its headquarters employees. Health Navigator could be a building block for them to expand the program to more or all of their employees nationwide.
Amazon is undaunted by the issues Surescripts has presented its PillPack online mail order pharmacy business with
Between its agreement with Oasis Medical ( a family practice organization based in Seattle, WA ) to serve as a provider for its Amazon Care employee health program, the acquisition of Health Navigator and its partnerships with the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance and Cerner, Amazon is not deterred from its healthcare mission despite the ongoing issue with its PillPack online mail order pharmacy unit and Surescripts.
Conceivably Amazon may be developing a solution to circumvent the roadblock Surescripts put in front of it by discontinuing data access to Amazon’s partner ReMyHealth on grounds it violated privacy and access terms within their contract. As Amazon builds out its Amazon Care program for employees ( which features a pharmacy benefit ) and potentially plans to commercialize the model on a larger scale for customers, it can weigh in on Surescripts’ trial proceedings with the FTC and further support ReMyHealth’s position. If ReMyHealth’s access to the Surescripts data is not restored, Amazon / PillPack could also contract directly with Surescripts but this has not been proposed publicly by Amazon / PillPack.
As Amazon forges ahead, it will be interesting to see how its actions are reflected within the realm of Haven Healthcare, its healthcare management partnership initiative with Berkshire Hathaway ( NYSE: BRK.A ) and JPMorgan Chase ( NYSE: JPM ). The organization is seeking ways to improve quality of care while reducing cost.
Amazon is clearly investing a considerable amount of staff, financial and technical resources to support its own employee medical care program as well as develop commercial opportunities for the future. It is navigating multiple channels in healthcare, developing partnerships and making strategic acquisitions which for now are submerged threats to unsuspecting, less strategic competitors.
Thank you for reading this article. Check out my other stories about healthcare industry trends, mergers and acquisitions, clinical and commercial trends, technology, digital marketing, market access and social media strategy…
I lead healthcare marketing initiatives spanning pharmaceutical, medical device technology, clinical programs, health services, healthcare RPA ( robotic process automation ), software, SaaS and managed care. My background covers team building, digital marketing, brand and product management, content development, content marketing, upstream and downstream marketing and market access strategy.
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