Amazon has added another high-profile healthcare executive to its roster, with reports that the eCommerce giant has recruited a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration head.
Citing a source with knowledge of the hire, CNBC reported that Taha Kass-Hout, the former chief health information officer at the FDA, has joined the Seattle company. As part of the Amazon Grand Challenge team, which is the group that works on new initiatives and technologies, Kass-Hout will be in a business development role with a focus on creating new projects for the healthcare market. He will work with Babak Parviz, the Amazon Grand Challenge head, who was a director of Google X before joining Amazon in 2014.
Amazon has been quiet about its efforts in the healthcare market, though it did recently announce a partnership with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to create a new kind of healthcare company that aims to improve costs for its own workers. The group hasn’t yet named a leader for the new company.
According to CNBC, Kass-Hout was most recently at Michigan’s Trinity Health, where he was a senior vice president overseeing data, analytics and digital health projects. Before that, he held senior government jobs at the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the FDA, Kass-Hout was the first executive to study health informatics, noted the report. In addition to being an expert in technology and digital health, he is also well-versed in navigating regulations, something Amazon is likely to face as it pushes into the healthcare market.
CNBC speculated that Amazon may have tapped Kass-Hout to help consumers more easily access their health records. Apple and Alphabet, the parent of Google, have already launched services aimed at helping people access all of their medical information, noted the report.
Medical experts told CNBC that Kass-Hout could also help with the regulatory process if Amazon brings new healthcare-focused hardware and software to the market. Before landing Kass-Hout, Amazon had hired Martin Levine, a well-known Seattle geriatrician with expertise in creating new care delivery models.