AWS Public Sector Blog

The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition: Collaborating to save lives


The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition is a private-sector led response to COVID-19 that brings together healthcare organizations, technology firms, nonprofits, academia, and startups to preserve the healthcare delivery system and help protect U.S. populations. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a member of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, working side by side with leading healthcare providers and researchers such as the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and ZocDoc. Together, we’re coordinating our collective expertise, capabilities, and data to provide insights to improve clinical outcomes.

“The members of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition are working collaboratively to deploy resources more effectively and offer better situational awareness to those at the front lines of this pandemic,” said Dr. Brian Anderson, MITRE’s chief digital health physician and the coalition facilitator for the working group on healthcare systems. “AWS brings its deep expertise to bear in many areas—like helping to deliver masks to those on the front lines, supporting convalescent plasma initiatives, and providing tools for the resource library. Every contribution makes a difference.”

The coalition is organizing around the most immediate, near-term challenges confronting healthcare delivery systems by working to:

  • Improve clinical care outcomes from real-time, data-driven learning from patient data.
  • Stabilize healthcare systems during extreme demand by accelerating telehealth, home care, and alternative options to reduce load at hospitals.
  • Support an affordable and scalable supply chain for supplies and equipment.
  • Inform and advocate for coordinated social policies based on data-driven insights.

See below for some of the recent highlights coming out of the coalition:

Addressing the critical shortages of PPE

Amazon is helping in the movement of personal protective equipment (PPE) from suppliers overseas. Working with international suppliers, the coalition delivered 575,000 FDA-certified respirators to New York City hospitals, working through Governor Cuomo’s procurement office.

Launching national COVID-19 convalescent plasma website for providers and patients

By using AWS technology, Michigan State University (MSU) was able to quickly develop a website on convalescent plasma therapy for those who want to donate plasma and those considering the treatment. The website is a critical tool to distribute much-needed information to health care providers and to register plasma donors.

The coalition has been able to inform health care providers about the use of convalescent plasma as a potential therapy for those ill with COVID-19, and it also has helped in reaching out to recovered patients with an urgent plea to donate plasma. Additionally, doctors use the site to input data on how their patients have responded to the plasma treatment. The hope is that we can move this potentially life-saving therapy to controlled clinical trials and then to wider use if effectiveness is demonstrated as quickly as possible.

Using a public data lake for analysis of COVID-19 data

Another way AWS is helping in the fight against COVID-19 is by providing healthcare workers, medical researchers, scientists, and public health officials with the data and tools needed to better understand, track, plan for, and eventually contain and neutralize the COVID-19 virus. The AWS COVID-19 data lake serves as a centralized repository of up-to-date and curated datasets on or related to the spread and characteristics of the novel corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) and its associated illness, COVID-19.

The AWS COVID-19 data lake allows experimenters to quickly run analyses on the data in place without wasting time extracting and wrangling data from all the available data sources. They can use AWS or third-party tools to perform trend analysis, do keyword search, perform question/answer analysis, build and run machine learning models, or run custom analyses to meet their specific needs. Since every stakeholder in this battle brings their own perspective, users can choose to work with the public data lake, combine it with their own data, or subscribe to the source datasets directly through AWS Data Exchange. Recently, AWS added the National Scientist Volunteer Database for COVID-19 Response, with help from Harvard Med. This allows users to engage specifically with government and non-commercial medical centers, research institutions, and health and human services agencies who could use extra researchers to help out with things like sample collection, data entry, and contact tracing.

“Collaborations across sectors are key in the face of this pandemic, and we need to leverage the unique strengths of each partner if we are to contain and mitigate the pandemic successfully. AWS has been an indispensable coalition partner in this national effort,” said John Halamka, M.D., president of the Mayo Clinic Platform and co-founder of the Healthcare Coalition.

Learn more about the recent coalition highlights and please reach out to me if you have questions about the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition.