What Amazon’s latest job listing says about its healthcare ambitions

Jan. 22, 2018

Signs emerged last year that Amazon may be preparing an entry into the pharmaceuticals distribution business, but it seems the online giant’s plans may get more personal than that.

As first reported by CNBC, Amazon is looking to hire someone to head up compliance with U.S. health security and privacy requirements.

Specifically, the firm wants someone experienced in handling aspects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. This law covers personal health information, so it suggests that Amazon is looking further than the drug wholesaling business.

The job ad mentions “HIPAA Business Associate Agreement” requirements, which points to partnerships with other players, such as healthcare and health plan providers.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a provider covered by the HIPAA rules can only transfer protected health information to a business associate “to help the [provider] carry out its healthcare functions—not for the business associate’s independent use or purposes, except as needed for the proper management and administration of the business associate.”

In other words, if Amazon is the business associate in this scenario, it will face limitations on how it can use the confidential health information that it receives. It will also be obliged to keep that data safe.

What is Amazon actually planning to do? According to CNBC, it might want to bring its Alexa personal assistant technology—which is not yet HIPAA-compliant—into the healthcare environment.

Fortune has the full article

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