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Amazon said to hire ex-FDA staffer

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SEATTLE — Amazon.com has hired Taha Kass-Hout, the Food and Drug Administration’s first chief health informatics officer, according to published reports.

Kass-Hout will serve in a business development role with the company’s Amazon Grand Challenge team, the reports say, and will concentrate on developing projects for the health care market. His exact mission, like the full scope of Amazon’s ambitions in the health care sphere, is unknown, but one theory is that Amazon may want Kass-Hout to help develop a better system for health records.

Kass-Hout most recently served as senior vice president and chief digital health and intelligence officer at Trinity Health, according to his Linked­In profile, which notes that he spent a year in that role, which ended in May 2017.

Before that he spent about three years with the FDA. While there, he created openFDA, a project designed to make data sets on such topics as adverse drug events, drug product labeling and recall enforcement available via a public access portal. The project also provides application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow developers to use that access quickly and easily and use the data in their applications.

Another initiative of his was precisionFDA, which was part of President Obama’s 2015 Precision Medicine Initiative. PrecisionFDA is an online, cloud-based portal designed to allow scientists from industry, academia, government and other areas to work together to develop the science behind next-generation sequencing of DNA.


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