What you should know:
– Amazon Web Services (AWS) today announced the launch of the next AWS Healthcare Accelerator, this year with a new focus on health equity. The accelerator is open to startups with US operations and applications open today.
– This is part of AWS’ efforts to help organizations use the power of the cloud to help close the health equity gap – other efforts include the $40 million AWS Health Equity Initiativewhich AWS also provided an update in today’s announcement.
Addressing Health Disparities
Now in its second year, the accelerator will support 10 startups with US-based operations through a four-week technical, business, and mentorship program. Startups focused on one or more of the following areas will be considered: improving access to health services, reducing disparities by addressing the social determinants of health, and using data to promote equitable and inclusive systems of care . Participating startups are eligible for:
– Up to $25,000 per startup in AWS promotional credits
– Connections to venture capitalists via our innovation network
– Collaborative opportunities with other AWS healthcare customers and AWS partners
– Specialized AWS training and mentorship by subject matter and technical domain experts
– Advice on business development and fundraising with AWS and Accelerator Program collaborators
– Go-to-market planning
Recent AWS Health Equity Initiative Projects
Recent projects already funded by the AWS Health Equity Initiative include:
The Vodafone Foundation and the Touch Foundation connect pregnant women to emergency care in rural Africa.
Thousands of pregnant women in rural areas of Africa are unable to travel to hospital in the event of a pregnancy-related emergency. Sub-Saharan Africa has two out of three maternal deaths worldwide related to complications of pregnancy and childbirth. The Vodafone Foundation m-mama programme, in partnership with the Touch Foundation, is an emergency rural transport service that uses mobile technology to connect pregnant women and newborns to lifesaving care in Tanzania and Lesotho .
An image of a smiling woman looking at a baby she is holding in her arms. The baby is wrapped in a blanket and wears a cap on his head.
The system uses a network of local taxi drivers to act as ‘ambulance taxis’ in areas where ambulances are rarely available, at no cost to mothers. Since its launch in 2013, m-mama has connected more than 13,500 pregnant women and newborns to emergency care. The program has also seen a 27% reduction in maternal mortality in the regions of the Lakes Zone of Tanzania where it has been operational to date. The m-mama information technology system is powered by AWS. With additional computing power from the AWS Health Equity Initiative, m-mama will be able to expand more broadly in Tanzania and Lesotho to help thousands more women give birth safely. AWS promotional credits and technical expertise will also help ensure data security and privacy at scale.
“With the additional support and resources from AWS, we can scale m-mama to ensure thousands more women give birth safely,” said Samy Ellouze, m-mama ICT Product Manager at Touch Foundation. “We’re also able to take advantage of more advanced AWS services that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to get, which will ultimately help us connect more mothers and babies to urgent care.” »
WelTel meets patients where they are with accessible mobile technology.
Canadian company WelTel Incorporated is using AWS to enhance and extend the reach of its digital health communications platform, which connects patients to their healthcare providers through their mobile phones. WelTel uses two-way SMS to ensure it is accessible from basic cell phones, meaning patients don’t need an internet connection or expensive data plans to access care.
A close up image of a woman holding a phone to her ear while talking.
WelTel is already deployed in 10 countries around the world. AWS support will allow WelTel to expand in Canada to better reach Indigenous communities that lack reliable cellular networks and expand its support in New Zealand to better serve marginalized populations in remote parts of the country. AWS credits and technical expertise will also help WelTel improve the solution’s underlying code and deliver technology enhancements that will ultimately make their tool more cost-effective, secure and accessible.
“The most important thing about health equity is access. We need to use digital tools that embrace a cultural drive and truly meet people where they are,” said Dr. Gabrielle Serafini, co-founder and CEO of WelTel. “The AWS Health Equity Initiative will reinforce WelTel’s mission to ensure no one is left behind.”
An image of four women smiling for a photo. There is a laptop in front of them and on the screen is the login screen for “WeTel”
Round-trip travel improves health outcomes through better access to transportation.
Transportation is one of the top three barriers to people’s access to health care in the United States. Philadelphia-based company Roundtrip uses AWS to equip healthcare professionals with online and mobile tools that make it easy to order patient rides.
Roundtrip’s technology helps reduce the operational burden on healthcare professionals to coordinate transportation. This year, with support from AWS, Roundtrip will expand into California by launching an innovative pilot project with Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) to increase call center efficiency. Together, AWS, CCHS and Roundtrip will design and implement an automated contact center infrastructure based on the Amazon Connect cloud and integrate machine learning services such as Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly to make it even easier to book rides for vulnerable people in need of care.
“We cannot increase health equity without also increasing access. Every day, 10,000 patients miss or delay care due to a transportation barrier. By working with AWS, we can meet people in need where they are,” said Phil Montanez, Service Manager, Roundtrip. “Through this collaboration, we are facilitating access to reliable healthcare transportation, regardless of socioeconomic status, access to technology or native language.”
Applications for the 2022 AWS Healthcare Accelerator are open. For more information or to apply, go to AWS Healthcare Accelerator.