UPMC AnywhereCare app. Photo by Amanda Waltz.

Could Pittsburgh become a hub of tech innovation in health care?  That’s the goal and a new partnership with Amazon will help pave the way.

This week, the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance (PHDA) received a machine learning research sponsorship from Amazon Web Services. Through the program, experts from the PHDA will be able to use the company’s cutting-edge AI tools to produce the next generation of health technology.

“We believe that machine learning can significantly accelerate the progress of medical research and help translate those advances into treatments and improved experiences for patients,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, vp of machine learning for Amazon Web Services,” in an announcement about the project.

Launched in 2015, the PHDA is a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and UPMC Enterprises. The aim: Combine Pitt’s expertise in medical research, CMU’s world-class computer science and machine learning and UPMC’s clinical setting and their patient-focused analytics to make progress with cutting-edge and compassionate care.

Using Amazon’s machine learning and cloud computing tech, PHDA will collaborate on projects related to cancer diagnostics, voice-enabled technologies and advanced medical imaging.

Tech giant Amazon appears poised to make a concerted push into the global medical industry. In addition to forming a health care innovation nonprofit with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan known as Haven, the company has patented or purchased a number of health care-related technologies, many in the last year.

“This collaboration with AWS complements the unique strengths of the PHDA’s founders and will provide unparalleled resources to our researchers,” said Tal Heppenstall, president of UPMC Enterprises. “By leveraging AWS machine learning and artificial intelligence services, we can help Pittsburgh become the premier hub of technology innovation in health care, drawing innovators from companies big and small to join us in this critical effort to revolutionize the delivery of health care.”

Bill O'Toole

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.