AWS Public Sector Blog

Putting patients at the center of care: Innovative health tech

Innovative healthcare technology puts patients at the center of care. Solutions that let patients stay in control of their care are transforming and defining modern healthcare.

Let’s look at three health technology organizations who have built patient-centric, cloud solutions on Amazon Web Services (AWS), paving a new way for healthcare to be delivered.

Saving lives with in-home skin health self-assessments

Between two and three million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, and one in every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer, which affects three percent of the population. Thankfully, with early detection and treatment, over 90 percent of patients survive. However, that statistic drops rapidly the later it is diagnosed.

SkinVision started from a collaboration between dermatologists and a group of academic data scientists. They sought to develop a solution that could recognise signs of skin cancer from an image alone. The algorithm has trained on hundreds of thousands of images and can detect melanoma and other types of skin cancer. Built on AWS, SkinVision was born in the cloud, allowing it to take advantage of the ability to rapidly to scale and innovate.

To use SkinVision, patients download the app and take a picture of their skin spots. The patient can also indicate symptoms such as itching and bleeding. Within 30 seconds, the images are analysed and tagged as low or high risk; low risk will be advised to set a reminder to recheck, and high risk advises the patient to see a doctor. This means that instead of mole checks happening every two or three years, the patient can check themselves more regularly. The sensitivity of the machine learning (ML) algorithm now means that 95 percent of skin cancers will be detected if they appear in the image.

SkinVision introduced this technology to foster early detection of skin cancers—including the convenience, accessibility, and accuracy. Putting patients in control of their own skin health checks and then giving them either reassurance or the motivation to see a doctor alleviates patients’ anxiety, reduces the demand on healthcare staff’s time in-person, and improves the outcomes through earlier diagnosis.

Tracking vital signs at home to monitor patients and identify trends in populations

Aida Yousefi first came into contact with Huma while Aida was working on a trial studying paediatric brain tumours. The challenge during clinical trials, and during normal care for patients, is how to monitor them while they are at home—sometimes in another country. Traditionally, patients need to be in the hospital or regularly visiting a clinic to be fully monitored. Between visits, they are often not monitored at all. This runs the risk that the patient’s condition could change without being noticed by clinicians.

The team at Huma saw an opportunity to take advantage of the availability of digital biomarkers to solve this challenge and develop a platform to monitor patients wherever they are. Digital biomarkers are physiological and behavioural data, such as temperature and blood pressure, which are collected by portable, wearable, and implantable digital devices. The analysis of these digital biomarkers in a secure environment can help doctors to monitor individual patients or identify trends in populations.

“Since the start, many clinicians have been involved including academic partners, such as Johns Hopkins University, and the focus has always been on innovation,” said Aida Yousefi, now Huma’s chief commercial officer. Huma is built on AWS, which helps them innovate quickly, scale up to meet demand, and deploy in new areas across the globe in minutes.

With COVID-19, many vulnerable people were developing symptoms and there was limited capacity in hospitals and a poor understanding of which patients were likely to deteriorate. This caused an urgent need to be able to monitor cohorts of patients remotely, in their own homes.

Huma established virtual wards of patients in several regions of London. Clinicians were able to monitor the vital signs of these patients from a single dashboard, allowing them to care for 50 percent more patients at a time. The patients, now in control of monitoring their own vital signs, also had the confidence that they were under constant review by healthcare professionals.

Changing healthcare delivery with video collaboration

Alan Lowe, the chief executive of Visionable, understands how hospitals work better than most. Having worked initially filing patient notes, he worked his way up to becoming a service manager at hospitals in the UK and also collaborated with hospitals in the US. Visionable is a video collaboration tool built on AWS that aims to change the way in which care is delivered. Visionable is being used to run multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meetings. These are meetings focused on a specific patient and involve all of the healthcare professionals responsible for their care. During an MDT meeting, many other images may need to be reviewed including multi-view cameras, simultaneous data review, radiology investigations, or even video from diagnostic devices. Visionable powers remote meetings with all of the necessary stakeholders and material and is now in over 30 hospitals and care settings in the UK.

Other applications from Visionable include initiating care for stroke patients while they are still in the ambulance by providing video and telemetry to a stroke physician. This is because the most important factor for better outcomes is obtaining an expert opinion as soon as possible.

Visionable is also looking at next-generation appointments. Currently, most care happens across several appointments. For example, a patient suffering with back pain may see a family doctor, a specialist, and maybe another therapist. “Imagine if you could complete a back pain pathway all in a single day, seeing each professional remotely, one after the other,” said Alan Lowe, the chief executive of Visionable.

These health technology companies have been able to innovate more rapidly on AWS and then scale up quickly as their solutions gain traction. Each solution has improved the speed and cost of care, have put the patient at the centre of their care, and has improved outcomes and the patient experience. Learn more about AWS for healthcare.

Dr. Andrew Jones

Dr. Andrew Jones

Dr. Jones is head of digital transformation at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He is a physician by background with 20 years of experience working in the National Health Service of the United Kingdom. Having worked with public sector, corporate, small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), and start-ups, he helps healthcare organizations manage the challenges that arise throughout development and implementation cycles.