Musings from an AWS Summit

Author: Matt Ferrari
Co-Founder and Former CTO

I am always on the hunt for new and innovative ways to transform business utilizing the cloud, but today has been a jackpot of learnings, from customer testimonials to new product announcements.  I am at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, attending the latest AWS Summit.  I have been fortunate enough to have attended many AWS Summits since our joint ClearDATA/AWS Healthcare partnership began in April of 2015.  These summits are year-round, global, and always unearth amazing customer stories of how organizations are growing and changing, thanks to public cloud.

Although there were many amazing stories presented, one grabbed my attention in particular.  Serkan Kutan, the Chief Technology Officer of Zocdoc, presented the keynote this morning, and I felt compelled to share their experiences.

ZocDoc’s story is inspirational as they have taken the average time to see a doctor down from 24 days to 24 hours, on average.  As a patient, you can search for a doctor based on specialty, ratings, comments, location, availability, and other attributes that are important to you. This has created a new era, of the empowered patient.

ZocDoc’s journey started with private practices but, due to large demand, grew to support larger provider practices.  ZocDoc evolved to build their next generation platform, based on microservices, on AWS, in 2016.  They proudly announced today that they are now 100% on top of their AWS platform.  ZocDoc chose AWS based on alignment with two core values: customer obsession and commitment to rapid innovation.  ZocDoc has transformed their business into infrastructure as code, DevOps, and even machine learning. They are anticipating 3x more engineering capacity in product development in 2017 than they did in 2016!

In addition to this and other inspirational customer stories, there were many significant feature and  service announcements that will have a positive impact on healthcare.  AWS continues to invest heavily in machine learning, and today, launched Amazon Macie. This project came as an artifact of an acquisition earlier this year (

Macie is a service powered by machine learning that can automatically discover and classify your data stored in Amazon S3.  Using machine learning algorithms for natural language processing (NLP), Macie can automate the classification of data in your S3 buckets.  This will take a look at sensitive data, including but not limited to, social security numbers, driver’s licenses, API keys and private keys.  Macie can classify the data within your S3 buckets by risk, 1-10, and help you identify risks such as anomalous access or sensitive data buckets that may have a surprising amount of traffic.  There is a deep focus on a stance of continuous compliance, specifically targeting GDPR, PCI, and PII immediately.

Other interesting announcements at the AWS Summit today included:

  • The launch of AWS Migration Hub – A portal that connects services like application discovery service, database migration service, server migration service, and key AWS migration partners in a single view to handle discovery, migration, and track the lifecycle of the application.
  • AWS Glue is now generally available – Glue is a fully-managed, serverless, and cloud-optimized extract, transform and load (ETL) service.  The service has crawlers that detect schemas from many data sources and types.  It stores these schemas in a centralized data catalog for use, and can generate ETL scripts to translate data from your source to your target formats.
  • AWS Elastic File System (EFS) – data can now be encrypted at rest to support sensitive workloads.
  • AWS Cloudtrail – Can now be enabled by default for all customers (which was already integrated into the ClearDATA platform) but is now a great option for all healthcare customers who may forget to enable it.  Cloudtrail captures account activity and events for supported services made in your AWS account and sends the event log files to S3, CloudWatch Logs, and CloudWatch Events.

These new service announcements and customer success stories reflect a rapidly evolving healthcare industry. New ideas are dramatically changing the way sensitive data is handled and kept safe; there will always be something to solve and new products to create as healthcare delivery and regulations continue to change.

Continue Learning:

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