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Amazon Seeks HIPAA Expert for New Healthcare Venture

Amazon has posted a new job vacancy for a HIPAA Compliance Lead, confirming the retail giant is making a move into the healthcare sector.

The HIPAA Compliance Lead will be responsible for creating a HIPAA compliance program to ensure its technology and business processes meet the terms of its BAA and the management of all aspects of that compliance program.

The new recruit should have at least 5 years of HIPAA experience in an enterprise, experience with the FDA and 510(k) process, 7+ years’ experience in an information technology setting including exposure to software development/auditing, a thorough understanding of HIPAA/HITECH and OIG compliance standards, and experience with business intelligence and analytics tools. Applicants must also have an understanding of HIPAA privacy and security requirements, and how those standards map to ISO 27001, SOC 1/2/3, NIST 800-53.

Amazon already offers its cloud platform – Amazon Web Services (AWS) – to healthcare organizations, with AWS supporting HIPAA compliance and Amazon prepared to sign a business associate agreement with healthcare organizations.

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However, the new position is not related to AWS. The HIPAA compliance expert Amazon seeks will be working on “a new initiative” according to the job listing, which has fueled speculation about new products and services for the healthcare industry.

Over the past year there has been much speculation about Amazon moving into the pharmacy business, with the retailer able to use its resources to speed drug delivery. Goldman Sachs predicted Amazon would likely move into this area last summer, either by making certain pharmaceutical products available through its online store or by creating a separate Amazon online pharmacy.

There has also been speculation about Amazon developing a HIPAA-compliant version of Alexa specifically for the healthcare industry. In April 2017, the Alexa Diabetes Challenge was launched by Merck, with developers challenged to come up with new ways for Alexa – and Lex on which Alexa is based – to be used to improve the lives of patients with diabetes. There are many potential uses for Alexa in healthcare, including using the service for transcribing patient notes. Currently, Alexa is not HIPAA-compliant and cannot be used with any PHI. (You can read more about HIPAA and virtual assistants here)

Amazon could also launch a new telemedicine platform. Last year, Amazon set up a new tech lab named 1492 which is focused on hardware and software projects related to healthcare. One of the projects being explored by the lab is a hardware/software solution that would make accessing health records much easier for physicians and patients.

While Amazon’s new products and services for healthcare are currently a mystery, it is clear that Amazon sees healthcare as a major area of future growth and the new recruit will be instrumental in helping bring those products/services to market.

Author: Steve Alder is the editor-in-chief of HIPAA Journal. Steve is responsible for editorial policy regarding the topics covered on HIPAA Journal. He is a specialist on healthcare industry legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA and other related legal topics. Steve has developed a deep understanding of regulatory issues surrounding the use of information technology in the healthcare industry and has written hundreds of articles on HIPAA-related topics.