Much like Apple, Amazon is now said to have a secret heathcare team working on electronic medical records and telemedicine. A new report from CNBC details the team, dubbed 1492 in reference to the year Columbus first landed in the Americas.
The report explains that the stealth team is focused on both hardware and software projects. Currently, it is said to be working on pulling and pushing data from legacy electronic medical record systems. Amazon’s goal is to make that information available to patients and their doctors.
Furthermore, Amazon is said to be exploring a platform for telemedicine. This would allow for people to more easily have virtual consultations with doctors. It’s been reported in the past that Amazon is exploring selling pharmaceuticals via its website.
The 1492 team is also exploring integrating health applications for the company’s existing Echo and Dash Wand, including voice skills for Alexa. The report adds that it’s unclear if Amazon is working on any new hardware.
A little digging reveals a few 1492 employees on LinkedIn. The positions are for two machine learning experts, a UX designer, and two strategic intuitive leads. Elsewhere, there are vague job listings for positions on the team, including one for a machine learning director with experience in health care technology infrastructure. Additionally, Amazon Web Services has hired several health experts to improve relations with hospitals and pharmaceutical vendors.
The company is attempting to better coordinate these efforts through a series of meetings with senior leaders across these groups that kicked off this year, according to one of the people.
Amazon’s efforts in health come as Apple is working on similar projects. A report earlier this year explained Apple’s secret team working to turn the iPhone into a “one-stop shop” for medical information. Apple is also said to be working on a “breakthrough” diabetes treatment with Apple Watch, while it’s also been reported that Tim Cook has been personally testing the accessory. Industry CEOs have also touched on the breakthrough technology Apple is working on.
Apple of course has a strong existing health ecosystem thanks to Apple Watch and the Health app on iOS. Amazon, however, has an ecosystem of customers and their personal information. At this point, it’s unclear who will reach market first.