Amazon has tapped a former chief of health informatics for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who went to school in Texas to serve in a role focused on healthcare projects.
Dr. Taha Kass-Hout, will work in a business development role, according to a report from CNBC citing a source with knowledge of the hire.
Kass-Hout’s online profile says he holds a master of science in biostatistics in epidemiology and a doctor of medicine from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Amazon has been gradually making its way into the healthcare space, with few details and lots of speculation, not unlike those that swirl around its search for a second headquarters.
In January, the online retailer, along with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan, made headlines when the three major corporations announced plans to disrupt the nation’s healthcare system by creating an independent health care company for their U.S. employees.
Even before that, rumors circulated that Amazon was in talks with pharmacy benefit managers, the third party “middle men” that negotiate prescription drug programs.
Kass-Hout’s has been described as a leader in the fields of health informatics and analytics. He has previously served as the FDA’s chief health informatics officer and director its health informatics office, creating tools to help researchers evaluate DNA data, among other projects.
He was listed as being part of of “Amazon Web Services” at a recent HIMSS conference. He was a student a the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston between 1993 and 2001, according to his LinkedIn page.