Customer Stories / Healthcare

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GPNow Helps Ukrainians with Global Humanitarian Telehealth Service Built on AWS

GPNow created its telehealth platform and service to provide Ukrainians within and outside Ukraine with vital medical assistance using AWS Disaster Preparedness and Response Team.

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Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, around 7 million people have fled the war-torn nation. Another 44 million Ukrainians remain in the country under difficult living conditions. Infrastructure and essential services have been decimated, with more than 100 hospitals and clinics damaged or destroyed across Ukraine. Along with securing food and shelter, it’s often impossible for refugees and those still living in the warzone to gain access to medical care. Ukrainian refugees who have relocated across Europe and beyond, can find it hard to communicate with local doctors due to language barriers. Meanwhile, those still in Ukraine are left with a fragmented and failing healthcare service struggling to cope with demand.

Watching the Russian-Ukrainian crisis unfold, Robert Hicken envisioned a way to help. Hicken is the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Practice Innovators International, which owns and operates its telehealth platform GPNow.

GPNow is an Australian company established in 2017 which provides online telehealth services to vulnerable communities in Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In March 2022 the GPNow team decided to build a dedicated virtual clinic of Ukrainian medical professionals to help those in need with free medical advice, comfort, and care. A project of this magnitude required significant financial and technical support.

An Amazon Web Services (AWS) customer and partner since 2017, Hicken noticed a social media announcement from AWS CEO Adam Selipsky in March 2022 about the company’s commitment to helping humanitarian projects in Ukraine.

Hicken reached out to AWS to seek support for the program as part of the AWS Disaster Preparedness and Response Team initiative, which offers technology and expertise to enhance the disaster-response capabilities of AWS customers. The company applied to the program and on April 1, 2022 launched the Ukrainian CrisisCare Telehealth Service to connect Ukrainian patients to Ukrainian doctors. It received support in the form of cloud services credits, cash contributions, and technical assistance from AWS Solution Architects.

GPNow Case Study

Opportunity | GPNow Scales and Secures Service Built on AWS

In addition to localization challenges to prepare the platform for its European launch, GPNow also needed to ensure compliance with EU data regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GPNow was able to comply with the GDPR requirements that applied to its activities by using services and resources offered by AWS. For example, GPNow has ownership and control over its customer data at all times and is able to determine where customer data is stored by selecting the geographical region of that storage.

It also needed to protect the platform from potential cyber threats. GPNow uses Amazon GuardDuty, a threat detection service that continuously monitors AWS accounts and workloads for malicious activity and delivers detailed security findings for visibility and remediation.

While developing the service, GPNow received assistance from its AWS account team with recommended services and advice for developing an architecture that would support growing demand with heightened compliance and security.


Our KPI is saving lives. Using AWS, we built a CrisisCare Telehealth Service that helps thousands of Ukrainian families.”

Robert Hicken
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder, GPNow

Solution | Connecting Doctors and Patients Securely in a War Zone

With the infrastructure in place, GPNow needed a simple way for patients to sign up and request help. It created a website in Ukrainian where patients can connect with doctors in a range of specialties, including family doctors, pediatricians, neurologists, obstetricians, oncologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and even a veterinarian to help with pets. 
To forge connections in the local medical community and find doctors who could provide care in Ukrainian, GPNow appointed Dr. Vadim Ilyashenko as its chief medical officer (CMO). Ilyashenko is a highly respected Ukrainian neurosurgeon from the Oberig Clinic in Kyiv and still based in the country. 

Ilyashenko led the development of an onboarding process to build a team of multi-disciplined Ukrainian medical professionals. The team found many Ukrainian practitioners eager to offer services, including Ukrainian doctors who had fled the country as refugees and those who’d remained in Ukraine but had shut their practices due to the ongoing crisis. 

GPNow’s patient-centric architecture was specifically designed to comply with country-specific regulatory requirements, allowing physicians to practice in the country where they are certified to do so. This allows Ukrainian doctors to provide medical care online, remotely from any location, anywhere in the world, safely and securely.
The service is free to patients and uses financial support from AWS to pay its doctors. “The doctors among the refugee population are predominantly female,” says Hicken. “Many have children and have left their husbands in Ukraine to take care of business. They’re going through extreme hardship as they are unable to practice outside of Ukraine. We help them to carry on practicing medicine to support their families. Our payments put food on their tables at a time of need, easing some of the hardship caused by the crisis.”

Outcome | Providing Remote Medical Care Around the World

GPNow launched its Ukrainian service at the start of April 2022 having completed 128 test consultations from locations that were under regular bombardment, including Kharkiv, Kiev, and Odessa. The initial test consultations went well and GPNow ended 2022 having connected 5,331 Ukrainian patients with their virtual clinic, which now lists almost 100 doctors.

Demand is quickly increasing. Patients learn about the service through advertising, word of mouth, and GPNow staff handing out leaflets at the Ukrainian borders and war-damaged Ukrainian towns as well as refugee centers across Europe. The team manages to hold regular meetings with staff in Australia and Ukraine, despite the unstable environment. “Dr. Ilyashenko took part in a recent meeting from a bunker while missiles landed overhead,” says Hicken. “Other GPNow staff members don’t have power and work by candlelight. This team is extraordinary and inspirational.” 

The project has achieved Hicken’s goal—to use technology to provide medical care to those affected by the war in Ukraine. “Most projects are about increasing revenue, reducing costs or improving service,” says Hicken. “Our main KPI is saving lives.”  

Building the GPNow platform on AWS means that it’s scalable, flexible, and easy for Hicken’s small team to maintain. As a result, GPNow can focus on developing new capabilities and expanding the service to other vulnerable communities around the world. “We have the capacity to scale the platform to hit 175 million consultations a month,” says Hicken. “We don’t care who you are—race, creed, religion. If you are a person and you need medical help, we will provide help. There are so many people we could be helping right now, and because we have the capacity, we just need to get the word out there.” 

What began as one person’s idea to provide assistance to those in need has turned into a full-scale humanitarian effort with global reach. “Without AWS, we wouldn’t have been able to build this service and help all these people,” says Hicken. “It just wasn’t feasible for us to do it on our own.” 

Learn More

In order to keep the program going and growing please consider supporting this not-for-profit humanitarian initiative to help those in need during these troubled times

To learn more, please visit

About GPNow

GPNow built a telehealth platform on AWS that provides free medical consultations to Ukrainians, regardless of where they’re located. GPNow received technical and financial support through the AWS Disaster Preparedness and Response Team program, which allowed it to fund the project and pay the doctors providing care. GPNow needed technical assistance to scale up its platform, comply with EU data regulations, and protect its infrastructure from potential cyberattacks. After 3 months of development, the GPNow platform launched in Ukraine. It has connected over 5,000 Ukrainian patients with almost 100 doctors and enabled doctors to continue practicing medicine while fleeing from or living in a war zone.

AWS Services Used

Amazon GuardDuty

Amazon GuardDuty is a threat detection service that continuously monitors your AWS accounts and workloads for malicious activity and delivers detailed security findings for visibility and remediation.

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AWS Disaster Preparedness and Response

The AWS Disaster Response Action Team allows customers to focus on mission-critical functions, while AWS provisions critical data and applications, transports hardware to the base of operations, and implements deployable infrastructure based on customer need.

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AWS Professional Services

The AWS Professional Services organization is a global team of experts that can help you realize your desired business outcomes when using the AWS Cloud.

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