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AWS for Healthcare 699X511 1

AWS for Healthcare
A Complete Guide

eWay Corp December 14, 2022 18 MIN READ


AWS for Healthcare 699X511 1

In today’s age, AWS for healthcare is proving very helpful for healthcare organizations and healthcare providers. This is because healthcare organizations are going through a major shift. They are looking to digitize their services in order to take advantage of digital transformation.  

Healthcare Sector – Going for AWS   

Even a few years back, healthcare companies and healthcare customers were reluctant to embrace the opportunities offered by the cloud as they were concerned about its security. However, with technological advancement, the scenario has changed completely.  

Just like other industry verticals, healthcare is also seeing the advantages of cloud technology. Cloud technology is not only helping to improve the quality of service for both doctors and patients, but also creating holistic records and making data-driven plans.  

For this reason, healthcare organizations are planning to make a move from bench-top to point of care — revamping how they work on data-driven and operational decisions, permitting precision medicine, accelerating therapy development, and reducing the cost of patient care.  

As a matter of fact, industry leaders, such as Rush Medical Center, Moderna, Wellforce, GRAIL, and Genomics England are using AWS Cloud services like AWS for healthcare for supporting critical functions related to health while adhering to global compliance requirements.  

1. A Study Conducted by Gartner  

According to a research note – “Innovation Insight for Digital Health Platform” by Gartner – it has been observed that healthcare companies and life sciences are increasingly worried about the value provided by the present IT investments. In fact, certain organizations have made brave efforts to adopt modern technologies. This helped them to enable virtual care and ensure real-time patient monitoring.  

AWS for Health: Knowing About It  

AWS for Health is a set of services and partner solutions, catering the biopharma, genomics, and healthcare. The wide range of solutions that AWS will deliver through AWS for Health offerings will aid in accelerating digital innovation from ‘bench-top to bedside.’   

There is no denying that the healthcare industry is facing all kinds of unprecedented challenges. With the COVID-19 outbreak, the health sector faced immense pressure to reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies. As a result, healthcare providers started to leverage cloud solutions, such as AWS for Health to accelerate their value-based services and enhance the clinical and patient experiences.  

With AWS for healthcare, the healthcare industry customers will be able to easily identify the right type of cloud technology for their business. By using the right cloud model, it will become easy to accelerate digital transformation and reach any business goal even faster.  

1. The Need to Have a Clear Understanding of AWS   

By now, you must know AWS for Health is an offering of Amazon Web Services (AWS) services and AWS Partner Network Solutions. AWS is the biggest cloud infrastructure and web service division of Amazon.com at present. The cloud infrastructure is designed to offer a lot of benefits to organizations that just switched to the cloud or are planning to move their entire IT infrastructure and applications to the cloud.  

For instance, healthcare companies and providers from all over the globe are making the move to the cloud. But have you ever wondered why they are making the move to the cloud or why they are turning to AWS for healthcare? To understand the reason, one will need to understand why and where the AWS services are used.  

1.1. Why AWS?  

What makes Amazon Web Services so popular among businesses is a frequent question that people often come across. The reason to use AWS services is due to its flexibility and scalability options.  

Businesses are leveraging the power of the cloud to widen their IT base and reach out to the right audience with minimal investment. In other words, AWS allows business organizations, whether a healthcare provider or a healthcare institution, to choose any cloud model for scaling their IT infrastructure and applications. The advantages offered by this cloud infrastructure are as follows:  

  • Global Availability  
  • Little Investment  
  • Scalability & Flexibility  
  • Security  
  • Global Footprint  
  • Easy to Use  

Let’s dig into these elements in detail.  

1.1.1. Global Availability   

AWS has around 20 global data centers. Each of these data centers are operating from multiple availability zones. For instance, a US-based company will be able to improve its presence within the Indian Subcontinent through AWS Partner Network Solutions and AWS for healthcare.  

1.1.2. Little Investment  

Setting up a traditional IT infrastructure is very costly as it involves software and hardware investment. However, with AWS Cloud Computing services, there are no such expenses. It saves a lot of money as everything is cloud-based.  

1.1.3. Scalability & Flexibility  

Unlike traditional data centers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers flexibility and scalability options. The cloud automation tool of AWS helps with on-demand scaling. Moreover, AWS is known to offer low-cost migration services. This helps any new/existing user to move their existing infrastructure to the cloud and even expand its storage based on requirements.  

1.1.4. Security  

A misconception regarding the security feature of AWS is always in the mind of people. Often it is assumed that the data is not secured since it is being stored in a public cloud. But it is exactly the opposite. AWS is a highly secure platform.  

When one is using AWS services, like AWS for healthcare, several security tools are available for the users. The tools can be implemented into respective IT environments, and the data will remain properly secured. As a matter of fact, Amazon Web Services make sure that all data and data centers are free from any form of intrusion. Even if there is an intrusion, it is immediately identified and rectified.  

The AWS data centers need constant monitoring. Hence, if disaster strikes in a certain location, then there will not be any worldwide data loss.  

1.1.5. Global Footprint  

Currently, AWS is the largest global cloud infrastructure. AWS is expanding its services all over at a significant rate. Hence, it will not be wrong to say that they are leaving a global footprint of themselves through their AWS Partner Network Solutions, AWS Regions, and more.  

1.1.6. Easy to Use  

AWS for healthcare, an offering of Amazon Web Services, is easy to use. We all know that AWS is specially designed for application providers, vendors, and even for ISVs to host their applications in the cloud in a secure manner. Users get complete access to AWS’s application hosting platforms with the help of AWS Management Console.  

These are some important reasons that are forcing businesses, especially the healthcare industry, to take full advantage of AWS cloud and its immediate offerings. As a matter of fact, healthcare sectors are now relying on AWS offerings like AWS for Health and so on.  

Now, let us focus on what makes AWS or AWS for healthcare so crucial for healthcare companies.  

How AWS for Healthcare is Helping  

AWS for Health is an offering for the healthcare industry. This service has made digital transformation even more accessible to healthcare providers of all sizes, irrespective of their technical expertise in AWS. There is no doubt that AWS for healthcare comes with the accessible and time-tested potential to help organizations increase their innovation pace or create more personalized approaches to therapeutic care and development.  

AWS for healthcare is designed to align with purpose-built services and AWS Partner solutions for 16 critical solution areas, like biopharma, genomics, and healthcare.  

As a matter of fact, AWS for Health also includes Amazon HealthLake, which is a HIPAA-eligible service for healthcare. It aims to ingest, store, make queries, and even analyze health data at a wide scale.  

Why is the Healthcare Industry Giving Importance to AWS Cloud Computing?  

Healthcare companies from all over the world are using different AWS services, like AWS for Health or AWS Healthcare Accelerators, or AWS Partner Network to deal with today’s healthcare challenges.   

In case you are wondering why people are relying so much on the cloud, take a look below.  

1. Increased Collaboration  

More and more organizations are making the move toward value-based care. Value-based care is a model for payment that pays doctors and even hospitals for treating patients at a crucial time and place. At the same time, they are giving the patient the right amount of care he/she needs.  

It is considered a kind of incentive that inspires healthcare providers to meet the set performance standards to maintain the efficiency and quality of the process. This calls for increased collaboration between medical departments, doctors, and even medical institutions. This is where AWS comes into the picture.  

With Amazon Web Services, healthcare providers can transfer data from whatever point it needs to be transferred to the required endpoint via a cloud computing server, resulting in a boost in the cooperation between services and improved treatment.  

2. Improves Product Development  

Those who are in the healthcare and wellness business might be aware of the need to remain focused on delivering optimum care based on experiences and patient outcomes. At the same time, you need to spend less time on building and maintenance of data infrastructure.  

AWS comes loaded with features that help healthcare businesses and customers effectively connect with suppliers, distributors, providers, and even patients. These abilities include the code-triggered functionality that allows reports to be customized and notifications to be even more personalized. This alters the value chain so that the number of patients getting better rapidly increases.  

Starting from clinicians to manufacturing, researchers to operations, teams get empowered by data analytics. This allows them to make informed decisions that are more beneficial to enterprises. Machine Learning (ML) supports personalized engagement, advanced product research, clinical forecasting, and clinical research.  

3. Predictive Analysis   

In healthcare, predictive tools are highly in demand. Such tools are leveraging advanced analytics along with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to create structured and unstructured data. With the gathered data, the healthcare industry is gradually deriving some patterns and insights, which are being used to offer clinical decision support and deliver process automation.  

For instance, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is not only improving its patient care services, but also solving the high-level challenges of surgical cancellations through ML and automation. The incoming pre-surgical document package gets scanned as images, and then it is processed with TensorFlow on Amazon SageMaker.  

The process recognizes and inserts the consent forms into equivalent electronic health records (EHR), saving the hospital staff from long manual work hours.  

Hospital workers have been using Amazon Comprehend Medical for extracting key medical terms and even insights, which are then used by the Machine Learning (ML) model to identify pertinent clinical forms.  

This study shows AWS offerings like AWS for healthcare are being rightly used by healthcare organizations and medical centers to gather data and insights and serve the customer in an improved way.  

4. Data Management  

The reason to rely on AWS services like AWS for healthcare is because they manage data effectively. AWS offers several options to collect insights from all the gathered and stored data.  

Data management starts with the process of transferring data in a seamless manner to the cloud and storing it safely. So, whether healthcare organizations are using AWS or associated services, such as AWS for healthcare, they can enjoy improved data management.  

In other words, having AWS in place means your system for data management will do exactly what a user wants it to do. This happens because AWS offers configuration and customization options.  

5. Security   

AWS for healthcare is completely a secure offering of AWS. The fact that AWS is a public cloud was always a point of concern for the end-users when it came to security 

Whenever one is migrating their IT infrastructure from on-premises to the cloud, discussions among the stakeholders are a common sight. This is especially true for healthcare sectors where regulatory governance and compliance are a grave concern. But when one is investing in the AWS cloud platform for using services like AWS for Health, security policies can be overlooked.  

AWS ensures they maintain rock-solid security policies and practices for protecting their cloud infrastructure and ensure customers get to enjoy a secured cloud for hosting various applications or access management.  

Amazon Web Services refines its security measures sometimes based on customer experiences. Hence, their cloud infrastructure follows stringent security measures. So, healthcare providers and customers can store their data or host applications safely in the cloud and relegate necessary services through offerings like AWS for healthcare.  

6. Regulatory Governance  

Speaking about the governance levels, the cloud infrastructure follows a definite pattern. The governance regulations are often attached to the healthcare sector. Healthcare providers and customers alike need to abide by those regulations, such as HITRUST compliance, HIPAA compliance, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) compliance, GxP regulations, and more before using AWS for healthcare services.

In fact, regarding regulatory compliance, one thing that needs to be kept in mind is that AWS offers a large set of tools for various purposes, such as networking encryption, identity management, and more.  

7. Scalability  

The healthcare sector before moving to the cloud or using services like AWS for Health is concerned about scalability issues. Well, cloud computing technology allows healthcare providers and healthcare institutions to increase or decrease cloud computing and storage capacity based on the requirements.  

This indicates that healthcare institutions are in a better situation to adapt the latest technologies that are highly in demand. For instance, the flu season is a peak time for healthcare institutions. They need to maintain a vast set of data. By switching to AWS, they can gather data and keep it secure.  

The healthcare industry is slowly making its transition to the cloud, and it is a good sign. AWS being designed for various industry verticals, such as AWS for Nonprofit, AWS for healthcare, etc., will allow healthcare providers and healthcare companies to improve their work efficiency and productivity. This, in turn, will help healthcare organizations focus on patient-centric care.  

AWS Offerings You Must Know  

1. Amazon HealthLake: A Service for Healthcare  

The introduction of Amazon HealthLake is another feather in the cap for AWS. It is a significant addition to their health-specific service-related portfolio, which contains services like Amazon Comprehend Medical and Amazon Transcribe Medical.  

HealthLake is a tool that has made the job of healthcare organizations much easier for analyzing and searching data.  

Healthcare organizations create or generate vast amounts of patient information every day, and most of the data is in unstructured forms, like lab reports, clinical notes, insurance claims, recorded conversations, medical images, and graphs. The data needs to be aggregated and structured before customers get valuable insight from it. This entire process is time-consuming and prone to errors.  

As a result, Amazon HealthLake service, which is a part of Amazon for Health is designed to bundle the complete data of organizations across various silos and contrasting formats into a centralized data lake. This, in turn, will automatically sort the information by taking the help of machine learning.  

1.1. Understanding Data Lake  

To reap the full benefits of Amazon HealthLake, AWS for healthcare offers a centralized data lake. Having a proper understanding of the data lake is important.  

A data lake is a curated and secured repository for storing entire data, in various forms. To put it simply, data can be stored in its original form and in the analyzed form. The data lake allows breaking down the isolated data or data silos and merging diverse types of analytics for gaining insights and eventually reaching better business decisions.  

By making use of AWS Lake Formation, it is easy to set up a secured data lake within days. Plus, healthcare organizations can access any data from the EHR and from the applications in AWS.  

AWS for Health, or better referred to as AWS for healthcare, is being used by thousands of healthcare and life-science customers globally.  

2. Amazon Omics: A Service for Healthcare Sector  

Another offering from AWS is Amazon Omics. During the reinvent, AWS announced the general availability of Amazon Omics, a managed service for the analysis, storage, and development of genomic, transcriptomic, and omics data.  

Amazon Omics is rightly designed for AWS for healthcare and life science organizations for improving patient care. This service even aims to offer help regarding scientific research.  

2.1. Understanding Amazon Omics  

Amazon Omics will offer scalable workflows and integrated tools to help prepare and analyze omics data. Plus, it has the capability to provision and scale the fundamental cloud infrastructure.   

In simple words, Amazon Omics, apart from helping to set up the basic bioinformatics workflow, will also help to analyze results by making use of Machine Learning (ML) and AWS Analytics services.  

Amazon Omics makes use of bioinformatics–aware storage options to store raw data sequences. To optimize the data for any running analysis, Omics will import data to a variant store and then modify it into a query-ready schema.  

This new service for AWS for healthcare can be used along with another service, like Amazon HealthLake. Amazon Omics is going to function based on three primary components— data stores geared for specific types of analytics, managed compute for workflows, and optimized storage.  

Programs for Healthcare Sector: AWS Healthcare Accelerator Global Cohort  

AWS Healthcare Accelerator is a new, global framework designed to address some of the key challenges faced by healthcare staff and employees. It aims to focus on improving health equity.  

At present, this program is open for startups operating worldwide and will work in collaboration with AlchemistX and Plexal across two time zones, i.e., the U.S. and EMEA. It is assumed that a global collaboration between technology providers and healthcare organizations will improve the provider’s experience as well as the patient outcomes.  

1. The Challenge Faced by Healthcare Workforce  

The challenge that today’s healthcare workforce is facing is clinician burnout. This burnout is faced by healthcare employees globally. Issues like burnout have been present for years, but the issue was aggravated post-COVID pandemic. So, there is an urgent need for healthcare workforce development and even retention.  

The healthcare landscape of each nation is different. Hence, with the global accelerator, region-specific guidance can be offered for sections, like regulatory pathways and more.  

The main goal of AWS Healthcare Accelerator is to assist healthcare organizations in addressing critical staffing issues through training and retaining. It also helped deploy providers, allied medical professionals, and caregivers to deliver care in new and in existing settings. For this reason, AWS sought applications from startups.  

On November 16, 2022, AWS Healthcare Accelerator was launched. It completely focused on three important needs within the healthcare space, i.e., training, retaining, and deploying the workforce. Workforce deployment completely shows the opportunity for decentralized care and leveraging the power of the cloud.  

1.1. How AWS Accelerator is Going to Help Startups  

There is no denying that startups can fuel innovation and experimentation and, at the same time, solve challenging problems. Also, they can create job opportunities for millions of people and drive economic development.  

The goal of the accelerator is to offer startups the required support for scaling their technologies — improving the provider experience and patient outcomes — by leveraging the power of the cloud.  

The startups will be able to take advantage of networking with AWS healthcare customers and partners on diverse topics, like regulatory pathways, electronic health record integration, defining business models, clinical validation, and so on.  

National and Clinical Shift to Cloud  

Through national and clinical cloud transformation, AWS is helping healthcare customers drive innovation, optimization, and modernization strategies to allow provider infrastructure migration.  

At the same time, providers are coming up with secure landing zones for storing, protecting, and optimizing healthcare data. For this reason, they are allowing scalable, reliable, and cost-efficient infrastructure on a national and institutional level.  

Healthcare organizations that start using the cloud or migrating their IT infrastructure to the cloud are moving all kinds of workloads. They are using the cloud for hosting applications, databases, websites, and physical and virtual servers.  

1. Case Study 1: Change Healthcare  

Change Healthcare in the US is managing its millions of records every day on AWS. Ultimately, switching to cloud infrastructure helped them to reduce their overall footprint by almost 80%. The main motivation for migrating to an offering of AWS, like AWS for healthcare, was for scalability. Plus, they wanted to try out the new services of AWS while keeping their IT costs low.  

1.2. Why Change Healthcare Chose AWS  

Change Healthcare offers software, analytics, and network solutions to companies present within the healthcare industry. They developed a free interoperability service that runs on AWS infrastructure.  

Change Healthcare is working jointly with their customer CommonWell Health Alliance to migrate to AWS and offer a more scalable solution due to Common Well’s remarkable growth and need to support more use cases. Change Healthcare is offering document retrieval, patient identification, and record locator services to Common Well.  

The reason to use AWS is because of its scalability, security, and agility. These qualities ensure Change Healthcare’s can easily deliver critical and accurate medical data to their client, paving the way for interoperability, which in turn improves patient care and decreases costs.  

Personalization of Healthcare Journey With AWS  

Healthcare organizations and providers are looking forward to creating a digital front door for improving the communication process between healthcare providers and patients. Plus, they want to provide patients with certain digital tools that can be expected as a consumer.  

1. The Digital Tools  

The tools are being made available by AWS for healthcare. These tools are the same tools used by Netflix for helping movie-buffs find a movie of their choice. It is the same tool used by The New York Times to offer personalized news on their homepage for the end users.  

For the healthcare sector, some of the tools include Amazon Personalize, Amazon Connect, and more.  

For instance, Amazon Personalize makes use of ML to serve only those pieces of information and assets that might trigger a patient to take some meaningful actions, like making an appointment or refilling their medications.  

Similarly, Amazon Connect makes use of chatbots or automated messaging for streamlining and customizing the call center experience. Effective use of this tool has been made by the NHS, the largest healthcare provider in the UK.  

NHS used Amazon Connect to leverage AI (Artificial Intelligence) services, like Lex and Polly, for building an automated system that would handle repetitive calls regarding the European Health Card. The creation of the automated system resulted in a worthwhile reduction in call volume for the call center — it reduced the call center’s calls by 40 % — reducing the workload as they need to handle almost 5 billion calls a year.  

2. Case Study 2:  Moderna 

Moderna, one of the bioscience leaders in the US, accelerates innovation through AWS. In other words, AWS is powering Moderna’s Digital Biotechnology Platform for developing a new class of vaccines and therapeutics. During the pandemic, Moderna was able to complete the sequencing of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine within just 2 days.  

With the pandemic spreading at a fast rate, Moderna took the task of coming up with a COVID vaccine within a short timeframe. They used cloud services like AWS for healthcare and AI to ensure the success of vaccine developments. The first clinical batch got released within 25 days of their research.  

AI algorithms allowed rapid experimentation cycles to help design the mRNA and DNA sequences and automate quality control analyses. This saved a lot of time from manually reviewing the improvement scope over the production processes and logistics.  

Basically, to carry out the sequencing, Moderna used Machine Learning (ML) built on AWS. In fact, on receiving the genetic sequence of the COVID-19 virus from China, they started working to identify the proteins on the surface of the virus that would act as the foundation for all COVID-19 activities.  

2.1. Why did Moderna Choose AWS?  

The drug discovery process not only takes a lot of time, but also entails a huge cost. The truth behind such a long-time frame is the long experimental cycle and the need to design facilities customized for individual drug study and production.

Another hindrance that biotechnology companies face is the need to meet with complex GLP, FDA 21 CFR Part 11, and GMP regulations – together alluded to as GxP.  

It was well understood by the founders of Moderna that if they use mRNA as a drug-delivery mechanism, it will not only open the doors to a non-traditional drug development approach, but also address the major challenges.  

Traditional drugs require a factory setting for their development, and after that, they can be administered to patients. However, for maximizing the potential of the mRNA-based drugs, Moderna needed a powerful, scalable computing solution as well as automation and enterprise-wide data integration. Keeping these factors in mind, Moderna started using AWS Cloud from an early stage of its drug development process.  

2.1.1. How Moderna Stood Apart from Traditional Drug Developers  

AWS is the core element in powering Moderna’s drug research, development, and production process. The AWS Cloud offered everything that Moderna needed for accomplishing an IT strategy depending on high performance, data integration, computation, power analytics, and automation of laboratory and manufacturing processes while ensuring total compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.  

In the digitization process, AWS proved helpful for Moderna. In fact, AWS for healthcare helped the scientists working for Moderna to develop mRNA drugs. They used an online catalog for selecting the proteins as a starting point of their drug engineering process.   

The reason to use AWS is because of its flexible computing capabilities that assisted Moderna to attain speed, lower costs, and scalability, which are the main principles of their business model.  

Since the volume of the workload varies, Moderna used Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) with Auto Scaling for bringing new instances either up or down as required. By using Amazon EC2 Spot Instances, Moderna’s incurred expenditure was 90% less than on-demand instances.  

Relying on AWS services like Amazon for healthcare allowed Moderna to reduce the time required for advancing drug candidates to clinical studies. With AWS, Moderna expanded their research agility, development, and manufacturing processes.  

What Do the Case Studies Indicate  

It will not be wrong to say that AWS for healthcare will allow customers to correctly identify the right cloud technology and speed up their digital transformation. AWS for Health brought dedicated AWS health industry experts, the AWS Professional Services team, and AWS Partners under one umbrella.  

Industry leaders, like Cerner, Moderna Inc., Change Healthcare, Illumina, DNAnexus, etc. are harnessing the power of Amazon Web Services and its associated offerings for the healthcare sector to improve the quality of patient care.  

Migrate to AWS  

To migrate to Amazon Web Services, healthcare organizations should first reach out to the AWS account team. The account team will assess the present environment and offer the best available options for migration.  

AWS has a wide range of reference architecture, starting from hybrid to full cloud models. Plus, Amazon Web Services even offers different disaster recovery and single versus multi-region architectures.  

Migrating to the cloud and its associated services such as AWS for healthcare offers a lot of benefits, right from high reliability to security and many more things. In fact, when migrating to the cloud, healthcare customers are often encouraged to ponder other ancillary applications.  

1. Why Healthcare Depends on AWS  

Many companies that offer solutions to healthcare organizations are now relying on AWS to develop their solutions. One of the crucial arguments for migrating to AWS Cloud is that the platform offers a remarkable amount of purpose-built healthcare offerings and solutions right from AWS for Health.  

The reason to use AWS Cloud or AWS for healthcare is simply that the cloud solution can be tailored to meet business needs. Developers of healthcare software are also able to deliver the products to the market at a faster rate.  

Plus, AWS’s pay-per-use model offers support to developers with an extensive number of HIPAA eligible Services. Amazon Web Services is simply perfect for hosting SaaS applications, which are being widely used by healthcare providers for bridging the gap between the patient and healthcare professionals.  

Take Professional Assistance  

If you are a healthcare provider and planning to migrate any of your applications to AWS or, more specifically, AWS for healthcare, then we can help you in this transition.

As an AWS Consulting Partner, eWay Corp remains committed to providing best-in-class infrastructure and managed hosting services.

Wrapping Up  

The healthcare industry is moving to the cloud, and the resources required for this move are offered by Amazon Web Services. Apart from direct support, AWS is helping healthcare organizations with the right kind of support from technology partners.  

Hence, it will not be wrong to say that the healthcare industry should rethink its IT role. For this reason, Amazon’s cloud division finally rolled out AWS for Health services to assist healthcare, biopharma, and genomics to take an improved approach to therapeutic development and care.  

With AWS for healthcare, issues like complexity, scalability, and efficiency can be greatly addressed.