Amazon hires Mass Gen cardiologist in latest healthcare move

Online retail giant Amazon has made another splash into the healthcare pond by hiring cardiologist Maulik Majmudar, MD.

Majmudar, who announced he will be moving to “an exciting and challenging role” at Amazon via Twitter, is associate director of the Healthcare Transformation Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital and a lecturer at MIT.

The new hire comes at a time when healthcare executives are beginning to see Amazon as a potential competitor and disruptor in the field, according to a recent survey.

Majmudar did not specify the exact nature of the work he will be doing at Amazon, adding to the growing curiosity around the company’s forays into healthcare.

“The one and only reason I am taking on this opportunity, is the possibility of making a truly meaningful impact on the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of individuals throughout the world,” he said in a tweet.

Amazon has been on a tear of both acquisitions and ground-up efforts to enter the healthcare space. Most recently, the company acquired PillPack, an online pharmacy, for an estimated $1 billion. It also launched its own over-the-counter medicine business and is rumored to soon open a medical products and device pilot with two hospital networks. Furthermore, the company has taken the health of its employees in into its own hands by opening up care clinics in Seattle, Amazon’s headquarters, and launching a new entity with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to tackle healthcare costs.

Amazon’s potential impact

Despite having little information about the entire scope of Amazon’s healthcare ambitions, industry executives still identify the company as a disruptor, according to a survey from Reaction Data that garnered responses from nearly 100 healthcare executives.

Of the respondents, 75 percent of CEOs said they thought Amazon would make the biggest splash of the new entrants in the field. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents, who were mostly C-suite executives, said Amazon would have the biggest impact. Apple, Google and Microsoft trailed Amazon as other top new entrants.

“Amazon has a huge market they can use to distribute materials. They are already a household name and the users are not specific to Apple or Android,” one unnamed CEO quoted in the study said.

While all eyes appear to be on Amazon, “there’s no question that companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and even Walmart are investing significant time and money into the healthcare space,” Reaction Data concluded.

Among emerging technologies in the field, 29 percent of execs said telemedicine will have the biggest impact. Close behind, 20 percent said artificial intelligence will have the biggest impact. Microsoft, Google and Apple all have recent initiatives aimed at development of AI, the survey said.

“These three (AI, mobile, telehealth), particularly when used in tandem, can analyze and evaluate the status of a patient from anywhere, at any time, and transmit that data back to a provider who can then communicate recommendations to patients on their mobile devices,” a chief nursing officer was quoted in the survey.