AWS Adds Medical Imaging, Analytics Capabilities to HealthLake

Nov. 16, 2022
Cloud vendor estimates that HealthLake Imaging could help health systems reduce the total cost of medical imaging storage by up to 40 percent

Last year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched Amazon HealthLake, a service to store, transform, and query health data in the cloud. Now it has announced the launch of new capabilities in HealthLake focused on medical imaging and analytics.

In a blog post, Tehsin Syed, general manager of health AI, and Taha Kass-Hout, M.D., vice president, machine learning and chief medical officer, describe how AWS is working with partners on the launch of HealthLake Imaging to accelerate adoption of cloud-native solutions to help transition enterprise imaging workflows to the cloud and accelerate the pace of innovation.

Intelerad and Arterys are among the launch partners using HealthLake Imaging to achieve higher scalability and viewing performance for their next-generation PACS systems and AI platform, respectively, the AWS execs say. A Boston-based company called Radical Imaging is providing customers with zero-footprint, cloud-capable medical imaging applications using open-source projects, such as OHIF or Cornerstone.js, built on HealthLake Imaging APIs. Nvidia has collaborated with AWS to develop a MONAI connector for HealthLake Imaging. (MONAI is an open-source medical AI framework to develop and deploy models into AI applications, at scale.)

Their blog post explains some of the issues they are working to address. They note that the average imaging study size has doubled over the past decade to 150 megabytes as more advanced imaging procedures are being performed due to improvements in resolution and the increasing use of volumetric imaging. “Health systems store multiple copies of the same imaging data in clinical and research systems, which leads to increased costs and complexity It can be difficult to structure this data, which often takes data scientists and researchers weeks or months to derive important insights with advanced analytics and machine learning.”

To address these challenges, AWS is previewing Amazon HealthLake Imaging, which it describes as “a new HIPAA-eligible capability that makes it easy to store, access, and analyze medical images at petabyte scale. This new capability is designed for fast, sub-second medical image retrieval in your clinical workflows that you can access securely from anywhere (e.g., web, desktop, phone) and with high availability.”

AWS adds that users will be able to drive their existing medical viewers and analysis applications from a single encrypted copy of the same data in the cloud with normalized metadata and advanced compression. As a result, they estimate that HealthLake Imaging could help them reduce the total cost of medical imaging storage by up to 40 percent.

In a press release, Radical Imaging explained its role. It plans to use HealthLake Imaging with its Open Health Imaging Foundation (OHIF)-based medical imaging viewer, FlexView, to display volume rendering, which creates a three-dimensional representation of data, and segmentation information. HealthLake Imaging uses state-of-the-art image streaming for fast, sub-second, medical image retrieval in clinical workflows by maintaining low latency and high availability anywhere (web, desktop, phone). 

"We are excited about Amazon HealthLake Imaging because it enables fast, scalable, secure access to medical images stored in AWS, offering our customers a path to move medical imaging to the cloud with confidence," said Rob Lewis, CEO of Radical Imaging, in a statement. "It helps eliminate barriers to scaling due to performance concerns arising out of DICOM's legacy protocols and the real-time interaction style of medical imaging applications."

The AWS team also included a few quotes from vendor partners in their blog post. “In our continuous path of innovation, our collaboration with AWS, including leveraging Amazon HealthLake Imaging, allows us to innovate more quickly and reduce complexity while offering unparalleled scale and performance for our users,” said AJ Watson, chief product officer at Intelerad Medical Systems.

“With Amazon HealthLake Imaging, Arterys was able to achieve noticeable improvements in performance and responsiveness of our applications, and with a rich feature set of future-looking enhancements, offers benefits and value that will enhance solutions looking to drive future-looking value out of imaging data,” said Richard Moss, director of product management at Arterys.

Amazon HealthLake Analytics

Syed and Kass-Hout also wrote that AWS is announcing Amazon HealthLake Analytics, which they say makes it easy to query and derive insights from multi-modal health data at scale, at the individual or population levels, “with the ability to share data securely across the enterprise and enable advanced analytics and machine learning in just a few clicks. This removes the need for you to execute complex data exports and data transformations.”

They add that HealthLake Analytics automatically normalizes raw health data from multiple disparate sources (medical records, health insurance claims, EHRs, medical devices) into an analytics and interoperability-ready format in a matter of minutes.

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