Philips taps AWS to send imaging tech to the cloud, develop new clinical AI tools

Between a range of collaborations across healthcare, pharma and medtech, and its own product development in the space, Amazon has spent the last few years moving further and further into the world of medicine—and a newly announced partnership is strengthening its foothold in the industry.

The tech giant’s latest team-up comes courtesy of Philips, which has tapped Amazon Web Services with two goals in mind: to send its storage and sharing platform for imaging scans to the cloud and to bolster that platform with new artificial intelligence-powered capabilities. The duo announced their decision to join forces on Monday.

At the center of the partnership is Philips’ HealthSuite Imaging platform, a picture archiving and communication system, or PACS, that serves as a centralized location for hospitals and health systems to store patient scans and easily access them as needed.

To accomplish the first of the two goals, Philips has sent the HealthSuite Imaging system to the AWS cloud. According to the companies, making the data management tool available via Amazon’s cloud-hosting service will not only improve its processing speeds, security and stability, but will also allow clinicians to access the HealthSuite system from anywhere.

Additionally, the companies noted, by sending the platform to the AWS cloud, healthcare providers will be able to nix the physical hardware and data centers they previously relied on to host Philips’ technology—therefore potentially cutting health systems’ costs.

“With healthcare systems under increasing pressure, the focus of clinicians has shifted from technical specifications toward more efficient workflows that lead to accurate diagnoses—and that’s what we are delivering here,” Shez Partovi, Philips’ chief innovation and strategy officer, said in the announcement. “By shifting from on-premises to the cloud, we can leverage the security, reliability and unmatched breadth and depth of AWS to support healthcare organizations in their mission to deliver high-quality care while easing the burden on their staff.”

As for the second aim of their collaboration, Philips and AWS will use the latter’s newly launched Amazon Bedrock service to build generative AI tools, powered by machine learning algorithms dubbed Foundation Models that are designed to sort through massive amounts of data and perform more complex tasks than standard AI models.

In Philips’ case, those AI tools will be integrated into the HealthSuite platform to help hospitals by automating administrative tasks, providing doctors with decision-making support and even guiding them toward more accurate diagnoses—thanks to machine learning technology that can sort through imaging data more quickly and incorporate voice recognition abilities into those analyses.

Through that work, according to Swami Sivasubramanian, AWS' VP of database, analytics and machine learning, “AWS will continue to support Philips as they uncover new ways to simplify radiologists’ workflow and reduce cognitive burden and clinician burnout.”