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Industry Voices—How Amazon's health venture could help turn unstructured EHR data into refined fuel

December 12, 2018 / Dave Levin

As I’ve written before, we need fresh thinking and new investments in healthcare, but this is a complex industry with some unique challenges. In the long run, a mash-up of old and new could lead to real breakthroughs. In the short run, we should expect failures and flameouts. Recent reports about Amazon’s new health data service provide a good opportunity to explore these issues. Amazon is starting to apply advanced natural-language processing (NLP) technology developed for their retail business to the problem of extracting discrete data elements from the unstructured data typically found in documents and reports in an electronic health record (EHR).