Amazon Web Service Opens Healthcare AI and Voice Startup Accelerator
Amazon Web Services has begun looking for young digital health startups to join a new accelerator. The AWS Healthcare Accelerator will offer a month-long program of lessons, mentoring, and networking for startups applying voice technology, AI, and related tech to the healthcare market.
The four-week AWS Healthcare Accelerator is open to relevant startups in the U.S. or companies based elsewhere that also operate in the U.S. Applications are open until July 23, after which Amazon will choose 10 startups for the first cohort based on how unique and innovative the idea is, the value of the project, and how AWS is used throughout. AWS is running the program with digital pediatric health accelerator KidsX and its network of more than 50 children’s hospitals globally. Though KidsX is a children’s health-focused organization, applicants for the AWS program don’t have to limit themselves to just that age group.
“Healthcare organizations, from hospital systems to public health agencies, have been turning to technology solutions to help them quickly adapt and respond to these challenges and rapidly innovate with data-driven and compliant solutions,” AWS vice president of worldwide public sector partners and programs Sandy Carter explained in a blog post. “The goal of the AWS Healthcare Accelerator is to cultivate and promote innovative startup solutions that achieve the Quadruple Aim of improved patient experience, improved clinician experience, better health outcomes, and lower cost of care. In seeking out compliant data-driven healthcare solutions, AWS will support public sector healthcare enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation.”
Carter cites the massive growth of digital healthcare tools since the COVID-19 pandemic began as one of the reasons for the accelerator. In both voice and chat form, demand for virtual assistants has been pushing huge investments and acquisitions for over a year for startups Orbita, Hyro, and Avaamo, not to mention helping make Nuance worth almost $20 billion to Microsoft. The vaccine rollout only added to the demand for AI to help doctors keep people informed and schedule their shots, which led to the creation of Nuance’s COVID-19 vaccine bots. Amazon hasn’t been ignoring that trend before now, either. The company released the Halo fitness tracker, later adding Alexa voice controls, and acquired PillPack before launching Amazon Pharmacy. Those interested in joining the new accelerator can apply here for a spot.
“In the first 10 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported an overall 42% reduction in emergency department visits in hospitals. This trend was also seen in other areas within health systems and we continue to see lower utilization rates and engagement of healthcare services; both of which have significant downstream impact on both the health and financial outcomes for patient and provider alike,” Carter wrote. “This places healthcare startups in the unique position of being able to quickly provide turnkey solutions that can use data and analytics to identify high-risk patients, create a platform to remotely engage and deliver care for patients, or even pivot from their existing functionality to meet the needs of public sector healthcare.”