Amazon launches digital health accelerator with a focus on virtual care, analytics startups

Amazon Web Services wants to help incubate early-stage digital health companies that can collaborate with the tech giant's healthcare customers and partners.

Amazon's cloud division launched a healthcare accelerator to boost startups' growth in cloud technologies and enable early-stage companies to tap into AWS' technical and commercial expertise.

The program will focus on technologies such as remote patient monitoring, data analytics, patient engagement, voice technology and virtual care, according to a blog post from Sandy Carter, vice president of worldwide public sector partners and programs at AWS.

The AWS Healthcare Accelerator is a four-week program open to digital health startups based in the U.S. or ones that have existing U.S. operations and that have an established product-market fit with existing customers and revenue, according to AWS. Ten startups will participate in the inaugural program, with proposals due by July 23.

AWS is partnering with pediatrics digital health accelerator KidsX to launch the accelerator program. Children's Hospital Los Angeles launched the KidsX accelerator in 2020, and it links more than 50 children’s hospitals from North America, Europe and Australia with technology companies focused on increasing digital innovations for pediatric patients.

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The AWS Healthcare Accelerator will be open to healthcare startups targeting any patient population, not just children.

"Leveraging KidsX’s strong track record in delivering accelerators along with their network of public sector healthcare member organizations, AWS will provide resources and expertise along with opportunities to collaborate with AWS healthcare customers and partners to collaborate on topics ranging from clinical validation and electronic health record integration," Carter wrote.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare organizations from hospital systems to public health agencies have been turning to technology solutions to help them quickly adapt and rapidly innovate with data-driven and compliant solutions.

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AWS' digital health accelerator is designed to support both high-potential healthcare startups and the healthcare industry's need for innovative solutions, Carter wrote.

In March, the company announced an "out of this world" space accelerator program in partnership with U.K.-based venture firm Seraphim Capital to help space startups grow.

AWS also has other business support programs, such as its AWS EdStart, an educational technology startup accelerator.

The health tech accelerator builds on Amazon's other forays into healthcare, including its acquisition of PillPack and launch of Amazon Pharmacy, the focus on employer health, investments in home diagnostics due to the pandemic, and the announcement and expansion of Amazon Care.

The company also jumped into the health wearables market with its new Amazon Halo fitness tracker and is moving into at-home testing as it got the green light from the FDA to begin hawking its own COVID-19 test directly to consumers.