Smarter-healthcareIn case you missed my posts on our Microsoft in Health Facebook page, I recently went on a road trip across Europe to talk with our healthcare industry clients about how they’re using Microsoft business intelligence (BI) tools and analytics to improve health services for their customers.

Tools like Power BI for Office 365 and Microsoft Azure offer a variety of benefits for healthcare organizations and providers. Power BI for Office 365 provides a self-service business-intelligence infrastructure for all of their information, enabling them to visualize data, share discoveries, and collaborate in intuitive new ways. With Microsoft Azure, organizations can stream massive amounts of data, perform real-time analytics, and gain key insights to make faster and more reliable decisions about critical issues.

During my 16-day journey, I visited Norway, Sweden, Croatia, Belgium, France, and England. At each stop I was amazed to see the many ways healthcare organizations are using business intelligence and analytics enabled by Microsoft products to increase healthcare efficiency and improve patient care.

Helse Vest, for example, is a regional health authority that operates 50 healthcare facilities throughout Norway. To meet the requirements for a government-sponsored national patient safety program, Helse Vest needed to create analytical reports based on surgery trends and other medical data, and to do so much more quickly. Using Power BI for Office 365, Helse Vest employees can now visualize combined data from multiple facilities and create dynamic analytical reports in less than one day—a 93 percent improvement over the 14 days it previously took to build a report.

In Sweden, I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from Aerocrine, a company that makes medical devices used by physicians and clinics worldwide to monitor, diagnose, and treat asthma. Nearly 10 percent of the world’s population suffers from asthma—a potentially deadly disease that has no cure. Medications and inhalers offer relief that help asthma patients live healthy lives, but only if they routinely monitor their condition and follow their prescribed treatments.

Using a Microsoft Azure solution, Aerocrine can collect near-real-time telemetry data from all of its devices worldwide. With that data, the company can monitor the equipment remotely, keeping track of where devices are located, how they’re performing, and which ones need to be replaced before dangerous downtime occurs and leaves patients unmonitored for days at a time. The Aerocrine devices precisely measure airway inflammation, for example, but the machines are very sensitive and easily disrupted by environmental factors such as dry weather or humidity. With the analytics that Microsoft Azure provides, Aerocrine can check remotely to see whether a device has a humidity level that is too high or too low. Microsoft Azure also enables Aerocrine to see when devices are nearing the end of their allotted number of tests and then deploy new resources proactively.

These are just two examples of the innovative ways in which healthcare organizations worldwide are putting Microsoft BI tools and analytics to work to provide more efficient services and better patient care. In the end, it all adds up to smarter healthcare.

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