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Microsoft to launch cloud service for healthcare firms

28 Sep 2020

Microsoft is launching a dedicated cloud service for healthcare organisations, with the aim of providing ‘better connectedness’ for healthcare firms and their patients.

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, launching on 30 October, includes managed services such as Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and partner solutions to support healthcare firms.

These solutions will create ‘trusted’ end-to-end cloud-based solutions that provide additional insights into health data.

Microsoft’s worldwide health corporate vice president Tom McGuiness says, “Healthcare organisations can engage in more proactive ways with patients and give caregivers tools to improve data interoperability, workflow efficiency, and streamline interactions.”

He points to a major need for digital health solutions, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare providers are increasingly using technology to communicate with their patients, however, this is now without challenges.

Healthcare providers and systems must be able to securely access patient information and knowledge that enhance their practice, supported by a high-performance and sustainable health system, McGuinness notes.

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare will also include capabilities such as personalised patient outreach programs, more options for patient-directed healthcare (such as care reminders, self-scheduling appointments, and virtual health bots), home health support, and care management.

“At this time in history, it’s so important to have a cloud environment that endeavours to improve patient care, improve experiences for patients and the healthcare providers, and better engage patients all the way around,” comments IDC’s group VP for IDC Public sector, Lynne Dunbrack. 

“With interoperability of healthcare data being so important and a willingness to adopt digital health experiences, this is the perfect time for Microsoft to deliver their Cloud for Healthcare.”

Microsoft has also launched a preview of Microsoft Teams EHR connector, which will allow clinicians and patients to use Teams in the EPIC patient and provider portals.

Further, Nuance collaborated with Microsoft to create a way in which Teams can integrate patient data with additional information in an electronic health record. This enables clinicians to auto-populate clinical notes directly within a patient’s medical records.

Nuance executive vice president and general manager of healthcare, Diana Nole, says the rapid integration of Nuance DAX with Microsoft Teams for telehealth illustrates the ongoing importance of combining health technologies.

Finally, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare includes the Azure IoT Connector for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR).

This integrates data from various medial devices, apps, and remote monitoring environments into Azure.

Additionally, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare includes the open-source offering Medical Imaging Server for DICOM. This enables healthcare firms to ingest and persist medical imaging files in the cloud, and integrate imaging metadata with clinical data in a FHIR format. 

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