AWS Public Sector Blog

Category: Healthcare

close up of man holding cell phone

Keeping Canadians safe while protecting their privacy: COVID Alert app

The Government of Canada (GC) set ambitious goals at the onset of COVID-19. One goal: to offer a mobile app to notify its users of possible exposures before symptoms appear in a way that wouldn’t jeopardize their privacy. In July, the GC released the COVID Alert app, an exposure notification application. COVID Alert doesn’t require users to enter—nor does it obtain from the mobile device—any personally identifiable information (PII) and doesn’t use location tracking. Let’s take a look at COVID Alert app’s cloud-based architecture and how the app is helping slow the spread of COVID-19, and helping keep Canadians safe while protecting privacy.

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2020 changing to 2021

5 things we’ve learned this year in the cloud for the public sector

This year, global health and economy challenged government, education, nonprofit, and health organizations to rethink operations. With a focus on their mission, organizations quickly shifted to better and more quickly serve their constituents, students, and customers. Many took advantage of ways to innovate and consider adopting the cloud. AWS looked for ways to help these organizations, educating them on the power of the cloud—no matter where they were on their cloud journey—as well as sharing inspiring stories from their peers. Here’s what we learned.

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woman loads a robot for genetic studies

A new key to unlocking drug discovery

Be it aspirin for headache, or statin for cholesterol, or amoxicillin as an antibiotic, there are small molecules that we refer to as drugs that can offer therapeutic remedy. Given the range of possible molecule to protein combinations, finding the right small molecule that is able to bind strongly to a certain target site and inhibit its function is a time-intensive and challenging feat. Enter VirtualFlow, a new open-source software that performs screens, essentially matchmaking between molecules and proteins. Harvard Medical School researchers developed the VirtualFlow platform that tests compounds through computer simulations. Using AWS and an AWS Cloud Credit for Research grant, the researchers demonstrated that VirtualFlow is able to run on the cloud.

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reInvent 2020 Teresa Carlson

What not to miss and how to make the most of re:Invent 2020 for the public sector

AWS re:Invent is back for 2020, and for the first time it’s all virtual and free. AWS re:Invent has become the world’s premier cloud learning event, and this year, we’ll feature sessions focused on how public sector organizations are using the cloud to improve the lives of constituents, patients, customers, and more. The event, kicking off on November 30 and lasting three weeks through December 18, will feature keynotes, leadership sessions, lightning talks, and core sessions tailored for the public sector. To help you make the most of re:Invent 2020, we created the AWS re:Invent Public Sector Virtual Attendee Guide, and the latest episode of The Brief.

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The COVID-19 infodemic: How Novetta uses machine learning to analyze unproven narratives on social media

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving a parallel “infodemic”: the rapid spread of competing and often harmful narratives about the virus. Social media plays a central role in this infodemic, serving as a forum for the spread and evolution of theories and beliefs with origins in broadcast, print, online news, blogs, and other digital arenas. As the COVID-19 infodemic grew, Novetta used AWS to create Rapid Narrative Analysis (RNA), a solution that achieves accuracy by using human expertise at critical stages of analysis while using machine learning (ML) models to rapidly diagnose the severity of the spread of key narratives at a speed needed to take effective action.

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earth connections light blockchain

How AWS and blockchain make it possible to meet the challenges of interoperability in healthcare

Health information is generally disorganized, unstructured, and stored in various formats, making it impractical to trace patient history and promote the exchange of information on a national scale with other health professionals. A solution to this issue is the creation of a unique patient registry, which can be defined as a repository of retrospective, current, and prospective information of the patient in digital format. The main objective of this registry is to promote integrated, continuous, efficient, quality health care. In addition, the registry needs to be accessible and available to different health institutions. When building these registries, it’s necessary to use standards to define not only how the information is structured, but also how it can be retrieved and shared among the different HIS in a safe, scalable, cost-efficient way. This can be done using blockchain.

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man working at desktop computer at night shadow

How to host a virtual hackathon

As education has shifted to remote delivery, traditional mechanisms for engaging students and creating practical learning opportunities have had to adapt too. One mechanism—the hackathon—is increasingly taking place virtually. Typically, hackathons are in-person technology events where teams or individuals create solutions to a specific problem or challenge in a short timeframe, often 24 hours or a weekend. Hackathons are also social learning events where peers can connect, learn from each other, seek support from technical experts, and produce a cool (even if imperfect) solution. Cloud technology tools and resources can help virtual hackathons be as successful as traditional hackathons.

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data center cloud

A pragmatic approach to RPO zero

Nobody wants to lose data—and setting a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) to zero makes this intent clear. Customers with government mission-critical systems often need to meet this requirement, since any amount of data loss will cause harm. RPO covers both resilience and disaster recovery—everything from the loss of an individual physical disk to an entire data center. Existing systems support RPO zero through a combination of architecture patterns (including resilient messaging) and on-premises legacy databases. Frequently interpreted as a database or storage requirement, providing for RPO zero requires thinking about the entire system. To do so, you can use AWS services and architecture patterns, which provide resilience to failure with clustering, auto scaling, and failover across multiple data centers within one region.

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lightbulb innovation

Building a culture of innovation to better serve citizens

Public sector organizations—from state and local governments, to nonprofits, federal, and defense agencies—often ask us, “How does Amazon innovate?” Our approach centers on four pillars that help us innovate on behalf of our customers: culture, mechanisms, architecture, and organization.

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A "cryptic pocket" inside the main protease, identified during Folding@home simulations.

Crowdsourcing a cure for COVID-19: How the cloud and Folding@home are accelerating research and drug discovery

Today more than 200,000 volunteers around the world are helping accelerate research toward COVID-19 therapies—by walking away from their computers. That’s because of a concept called distributed computing, which allows anyone with a home computer, laptop, or virtual machine to contribute computing power to a common cause. This month, nonprofit Folding@home has started sharing one of the world’s largest public protein simulation databases as an AWS Open Data Set so that researchers around the world can easily access this data to speed up the search for therapies for COVID-19.

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