Facilitating the Spread of Knowledge and Innovation in Professional Software Development

Write for InfoQ


Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage News AWS Announces the General Availability of Amazon HealthLake

AWS Announces the General Availability of Amazon HealthLake

This item in japanese

Recently AWS announced the general availability of Amazon HealthLake, a fully-managed, HIPAA-eligible service. With the service, healthcare providers, health insurance-, and pharmaceutical companies can securely store, transform, query, and analyze health data.

The company previewed Amazon HealthLake at AWS re:Invent 2020 as a service to aggregate health information from different silos and formats into a structured, centralized AWS data lake and extract insights from that data with analytics and machine learning (ML). Now the service is generally available in the following AWS Regions: US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), and US West (Oregon), with more to follow.

Users of Amazon HealthLake do not have to manage any infrastructure. Instead, they only need to create a new data store using, for instance, the AWS Console and configure the encryption method with AWS Key Management Service (KMS) - choosing either an AWS-managed key or a different key (like Bring Your Own Key – BYOK). Next, users can, once the datastore is available, directly create, read, update, delete, and query their data. Furthermore, since Amazon HealthLake exposes a REST Application Programming Interface (API), users can integrate their application through several available SDKs.

Julien Simon, an artificial intelligence & machine learning evangelist for EMEA, explains in an AWS News blog post on Amazon Healthcare the text data it supports:

At launch, HealthLake supports both structured and unstructured text data typically found in clinical notes, lab reports, insurance claims, and so on. The service stores this data in the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR, pronounced ‘fire’) format, a standard designed to enable exchange of health data. HealthLake is compatible with the latest revision (R4) and currently supports 71 FHIR resource types, with additional resources to follow.

If the format is not FHIR, the company also included several connectors for Amazon HealthLake like Redox, HealthLX, Diameter Health, and InterSystems, which allow easy conversion from HL7v2, CCDA, and flat file data to FHIR. Furthermore, there are also partner solutions available in the AWS Marketplace

When the data is inside a datastore, the service uses integrated natural language processing to extract entities present in the documents and stores the corresponding metadata. These entities include anatomy, medical conditions, medication, protected health information, test, treatments, and procedures. And finally, users can search and query by assigning parameter values to FHIR resources and extracted entities – and export the data if they want to Amazon Storage for other analytics and ML tasks. 


According to Stratistics MRC, the Global AI Healthcare market might reach $19.25 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 39.7% during the forecast period. Public Cloud vendors see this as a significant revenue driver given their investment in Healthcare services. AWS also has three other HIPAA-eligible with Transcribe, Translate, and Comprehend. At the same time, Microsoft offers Cloud for Healthcare like Azure for Healthcare, including Azure Health Bot and Azure API for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) and Google the Cloud Healthcare API.

Holger Mueller, principal analyst and vice president at Constellation Research Inc., told InfoQ:

2020 was the year of the vertical cloud, and 2021 continues the trend - for AWS, it means the GA of Amazon HealthLake - a HIPAA compliant data lake for all medical data. The cloud is an excellent platform for this kind of information, as it can be stored and grown cost-efficiently while being stored safer than in the average data center. Most importantly, the data is close to cheap compute, which powers AI - and hopefully will be able to unleash better medical insights.

Also, Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of Amazon Machine Learning for AWS, said in an AWS press release on the GA of Amazon HealthLake:

More and more of our customers in the healthcare and life sciences space are looking to organize and make sense of their reams of data, but are finding this process challenging and cumbersome. We built Amazon HealthLake to remove this heavy lifting for healthcare organizations so they can transform health data in the cloud in minutes and begin analyzing that information securely at scale. Alongside AWS for Health, we’re excited about how Amazon HealthLake can help medical providers, health insurers, and pharmaceutical companies provide patients and populations with data-driven, personalized, and predictive care.

Lastly, more details of Amazon HealthLake are available on the documentation pages – and guidance in the self-paced workshop.

Rate this Article