Microsoft and partners focus on transforming healthcare with use of cloud, AI

Health is one of the most important aspects in a person’s life, and something which impacts daily activities tremendously. If health deteriorates, the systems in place should be reliable and always improving, to provide the best kind of care in a given situation. Microsoft and its partners argue that emerging technologies such as AI or more developed ones like the cloud infrastructure could help.

In an initiative it calls Healthcare NExT, the Redmond-based company aims to bring together information from greenfield research (i.e. research done without previous constraints) and health technology product development as well as “establish a new model at Microsoft for strategic health industry partnerships”. This is all done through investments in resources for partners, in order for them to find more opportunities to apply artificial intelligence capabilities to healthcare. One such example is the Microsoft AI in Health Partner Alliance.

A strategic partnership has been put in place with UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery networks in the US. The system worth $13 billion is composed of 25 hospitals, a healthcare plan with 3 million members and 3,600 physicians. In relation to this partnership, chief medical and scientific officer of UMPC and president of UPMC’s Health Services Division, Steven D. Shapiro, M.D. says:

Despite UPMC’s efforts to stay on the leading edge of technology, too often our clinicians and patients feel as though they’re serving the technology rather than the other way around. With Microsoft, we have a shared vision of empowering clinicians by reducing the burden of electronic paperwork and allowing the doctor to focus on the sacred doctor-patient relationship

The use of cloud and AI to tackle some of the major problems in healthcare is reflected in projects such as HealthVault Insights (which allows for generation of new insights about patient health and the driving of adherence to care plans), Microsoft Genomics (Azure-powered genome analysis), Microsoft’s AI health chatbot technology, as well as Project InnerEye, a research-based AI-powered software tool for radiotherapy planning.

All these efforts, together with the recently announced Virtual Healthcare Templates for Skype for Business, create a comprehensive line-up of solutions and provide an insight into how Microsoft believes modern healthcare should evolve.

Source: Official Microsoft Blog

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