Novartis & Microsoft Collaborate On AI, Amazon Offers Health Services

Monday, October 14, 2019
Digital Health

Novartis and Microsoft want to transform medicine with artificial intelligence

Novartis announced the next step in reimagining medicine by founding the Novartis AI innovation lab and by selecting Microsoft Corp. as its strategic AI and data-science partner for this effort. The new lab aims to significantly bolster Novartis AI capabilities from research through commercialisation and help accelerate the discovery and development of transformative medicines for patients worldwide.

As part of the strategic collaboration announced, Novartis and Microsoft have committed to a multi-year research and development effort. This strategic alliance will focus on two core objectives:

  • AI Empowerment. The lab will aim to bring the power of AI to the desktop of every Novartis associate. By bringing together vast amounts of Novartis datasets with Microsoft’s advanced AI solutions, the lab will aim to create new AI models and applications that can augment our associates’ capabilities to take on the next wave of challenges in medicine.
  • AI Exploration. The lab will use the power of AI to tackle some of the hardest computational challenges within the life sciences, starting with generative chemistry, image segmentation & analysis for smart and personalised delivery of therapies, and optimisation of cell and gene therapies at scale.

Microsoft and Novartis will also collaborate to develop and apply next-generation AI platforms and processes that support future programs across these two focus areas. The overall investment will include project funding, subject-matter experts, technology, and tools. Joint research activities will include co-working environments on Novartis Campus (Switzerland), at Novartis Global Service Center in Dublin, and at Microsoft Research Lab (UK) – starting with tackling personalised therapies for macular degeneration; cell & gene therapy; and drug design.

Amazon Care: virtual and in-person care

Amazon Care, Digital health, ICT&health
Amazon Care is a benefit being piloted for Amazon employees and their families in the Seattle area.

Amazon started to offer medical services to its employees. “No more waiting times for high-quality virtual care, in-person visits at your home or office, prescriptions delivered to your door” – Amazon wants to make healthcare accessible and easy-to-navigate.

The offer includes both virtual and personal care, with telemedicine via the application, chat and video connection, as well as control visits and delivery of prescription drugs directly to the employee's home or office.

Amazon Care provides a mobile application that allows accessing virtual and in-person healthcare services from Oasis Medical – an independent medical practice licensed in Washington state. Oasis Medical’s clinical staff includes licensed doctors, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses with extensive experience in primary and urgent care for the entire family. Oasis Medical provides the following services:

Video Care: An in-app video visit with a doctor, nurse practitioner, or registered nurse for advice, answers, diagnoses, treatment, or referrals

Care Chat: In-app text chat connects a patient to a clinician in moments for health advice and answers.

Mobile Care: A Video Care provider may recommend an in-person assessment or treatment by a registered nurse. With a patient’s approval, the provider will send a Mobile Care nurse to the patient’s home, a designated room on the Amazon campus, or any other location in the service area that a patient request. The Mobile Care nurse may collect lab samples, perform some onsite testing (such as strep tests), administer common vaccines, or perform physical examinations.

Care Courier: During a Video Care visit, a patient may be prescribed medications consistent with Amazon Care’s current scope of services. Many prescriptions can be delivered to a patient within two hours. Others can be sent to a preferred pharmacy for pick up.

The application provides quick help in such issues like acute, urgent care needs (e.g., colds and respiratory infections, minor injuries, allergies, rashes, UTIs, pink eye, and more), preventive care consults, sexual health, travel health (e.g., education on safe travel practices, travel vaccines, and preventive medication), general questions about health and medicine.

So far, only Amazon employees and their families are eligible for Amazon Care. Following the CNBC, Amazon is "looking forward to helping build and scale the benefit to meet the needs of more employees in the months and years ahead.”