AWS pledges focus on underserved communities with new $40M initiative

The program will offer technology and AWS credits for select organizations worldwide that leverage the cloud to boost access, address SDOH and enable data-driven health equity.
By Mike Miliard
09:38 AM

Photo: Alistair Berg/Getty Images

On Monday, Amazon Web Services announced the launch of a new initiative to help organizations worldwide build IT-powered social and healthcare programs to help patients in underserved communities.

AWS is pledging $40 million over three years for the effort, which will offer company credits and technical expertise to help organizations around the world build and maintain programs aimed at underserved communities: increasing access to healthcare providers, tackling social determinants of health and putting data to work for more equitable and inclusive care delivery.

"Today, approximately half the world's population does not have access to basic healthcare," said Max Peterson, vice president of worldwide public sector at AWS, in a blog post.

"Projects that focus on underserved populations around the world will be eligible for the program. This could include the development of tools such as telehealth and telemedicine to reach remote and marginalized communities, remote patient monitoring, increasing the availability and impact of health workers, and more."

Peterson also noted that initiatives that "leverage technology to address the broader social, economic, and environmental factors that all play a role in influencing health outcomes" will be eligible.

AWS is also seeking to fill "gaps in health data [that] contribute to inequities," he said. "Eligible projects that address these gaps can include creating or consolidating datasets to increase representation in health systems, linking to SDOH data to create more robust and informative datasets, or cleaning existing datasets to improve accuracy about race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or other data points."

The application due date is November 15. Learn more here.

AWS says the new initiative is inspired by work already being done by some of its healthcare clients, such as the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved, which recently launched its cloud-based Data Fusion Center on AWS.

And at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center is currently expanding its Population Health Analytics Hub – which builds on work it did with its AWS-powered COVID-19 data hub earlier during the pandemic – to address the clinical and social determinants that contribute to premature cardiovascular risks.

"We know that conditions within these West Side neighborhoods of Chicago and access to health care for common illnesses are the drivers of premature death," said Dr. Omar Lateef, president and CEO of Rush University Medical Center, in a statement provided by AWS. "The Rush Population Health Analytics Hub will be a key tool to inform meaningful interventions and assess progress on the clinical and social determinants of health."

"Applying modern technology to health systems is not a silver bullet to ending health inequity," said AWS' Peterson. "But it can speed health research and innovation, level the playing field for accessing care, help deliver trusted information to people when and where they need it, streamline supply chains, and more."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
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