Amazon Web Services announces $ 40 million in funding to fight health inequalities

Max Peterson, vice president of global public sector at Amazon Web Services, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the company’s latest efforts to tackle inequalities in healthcare.

Video transcript


Amazon’s AWS announces a new program to support companies looking to reduce inequalities in healthcare. AWS will commit $ 40 million over three years as part of the effort through a combination of IT credits and AWS technical expertise. Max Peterson, Vice President of Global Public Sector at AWS, joins us for more. Yahoo Finance technical writer Dan Howley is also in attendance. Max, good to see you here this morning. What do you see in your business that prompted you to start this program?

MAX PETERSON: You know, what we’ve seen in the last 18 months is clients, researchers who are all working diligently to resolve the – the COVID-19 pandemic. And now we have the opportunity on the other side of that to start looking at how we approach some of the other fundamental things, the inequalities that we’ve found that – that the COVID-19 pandemic has really laid bare.

DAN HOWLEY: Max, it’s Dan. You know, I’m obviously going to watch what you’re announcing today. And you know, you say that companies are going to get this $ 40 million in credits to be able to develop these kinds of approaches. I guess, what are some of the ways that people, businesses, organizations that could benefit from it would be able to further improve health in, sort of, underserved areas?

MAX PETERSON: Yes, very good question. Thanks, Dan. There are really three different areas that we help businesses, healthcare providers, business organizations, and even our AWS Partner Network community tackle.

So the first is really to increase access to health services for underserved communities. Indeed, today, about half of the world’s population does not have access to basic health care. This program aims to help people develop tools like telehealth and telemedicine, so that they can reach remote or marginalized communities, do things like remote monitoring of patients, and basically just increase uptime and uptime. accessibility of some of those health services that really became the foundation for the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second area is really that of the social determinants of health. We have found that environmental factors play a big role, where people are born, where they live, where they work, in their ability to get a wide range of health care. This will therefore allow companies that leverage the technology to leverage AWS services to examine the broader social, socio-economic and environmental factors that play a role.

And third, harnessing data to promote more equitable and inclusive systems of care can really be done, you know, at scale in the AWS cloud, because it requires massive amounts of data. And by using and analyzing things like global averages, health statistics, we believe our clients and partners will be able to create new datasets to increase the representation of underserved or underrepresented communities in order to that we have more accurate data sets for health. on race, ethnicity, gender and disability.

DAN HOWLEY: I guess, how did you see, you know, is that something that companies used or organizations used during the pandemic, you know, in regards to putting people online who didn’t would not necessarily have access otherwise, things like this? How did it really work throughout the pandemic before this announcement?

MAX PETERSON: Yes, that’s a great question because that’s what we’ve learned, as we’ve seen, by experimenting with clients, say, Rush University Medical Center. We are long-time partners of Rush, and they are long-time advocates for better health equity. And so in the Chicagoland region, we worked with Rush to harness the power of AWS to create the Health Analytics Data Hub. And that gives more access to more information. It’s cleaning it up and making it available to healthcare, clinicians and researchers.

Another example would be, for example, the – this is a good example, it’s called health impacts, “Trust a nurse.” And so what we did was work with California to be able to – it’s a non-profit organization – to be able to access healthcare workers for all the different data available through telehealth.

Max, how important would a government shutdown be to what you’re trying to do here?

MAX PETERSON: You know, we have a large community of healthcare researchers, academic medical centers, and I think most of these organizations are going to continue to serve clients as they need. Although this – although it is disruptive, I think as long as this is resolved quickly, we will see that all of the healthcare providers we work with can continue to do their good job.

Hi, it’s Julie. I will intervene on this as well. May I ask more general questions about the government shutdown, as you are obviously a big government contractor. Forget health care for a moment, or put health care aside for a moment, let’s not forget, obviously, if there is a government shutdown, what kind of blow could it have on your income?

MAX PETERSON: Well, AWS continues to serve all of our government customers and their missions through these types of disruptions. We’ve seen this before and just found out that customers who rely on the cloud can easily continue to operate.

In fact, we saw it during the pandemic. Remote access has become the way everyone should work. And when you have all of your systems and your resources are running in the cloud, it doesn’t matter where you are in your office. It doesn’t matter if you are away. Critical workers, wherever they are, will be able to access the systems to move government forward.

Max Pearson, vice president of global public sector at AWS. Glad to see you this morning. Nice to see you too, Dan Howley from Yahoo Finance.

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