We are committed to helping organizations everywhere stay connected and productive. Read more

Jvion COO, Ritesh Sharma, says “Trust and Hybrid” makes Azure the best fit for the health industry

This blog post was co-written by Dr. Dennis Schmuland, Chief Health Strategy Officer for Microsoft US Health and Life Sciences; and Ritesh Sharma, COO of Jvion (pictured left).

At Microsoft we have a unique vision: make AI everyday, everywhere, and for everyone in the same way we sought to bring the benefits of software for computing — previously locked up in mainframes — to everyone. We think that every stakeholder in the health industry should have access to the benefits of AI, including the tools it takes to digitally transform their business and the industry.

Faced with a surge in two-sided risk contracting and operational costs, health & life science organizations are feverishly pursuing innovative and disruptive ways to make care personal, effective and affordable.

And one of the fastest paths to making care personal, effective and affordable is implementing AI algorithms across multiple disciplines–from primary care to surgery to quality, safety, operations, and care team workflow.  AI holds the keys to making healthcare a high reliability industry and reducing total healthcare spend in the US by up to $300B annually, according to Mckinsey. But to realize the outsized potential of AI, health systems will need to put 100’s not handfuls of AI algorithms to work everyday and everywhere.

But there’s a showstopping barrier standing in the way of making AI everyday and everywhere in health: There just aren’t enough data scientists or programmers to meet the rising demand for AI.  To make AI everyday and everywhere, we’re empowering our partners and their data scientists to choose the AI technology, platforms, and tools that work best for them.  We’re honored that Jvion, a Microsoft health partner, has chosen to switch its AI Cognitive Machine to Microsoft Azure.  I recently had a chance to sit down with Jvion’s COO, Ritesh Sharma, to find out what prompted their decisive switch to Azure. Below is a transcript of my interview with Ritesh.

Schmuland: Ritesh, could you start us out with a brief description of Jvion and the markets you serve?

Sharma:  Sure thing. At Jvion, we deliver healthcare’s only Cognitive Clinical Success Machine. This technology uses Eigenspace to make sense of the massive body of healthcare data and turn it into meaningful clinical value. It is not predictive analytics or traditional machine learning. Instead, what we built is designed to serve as a provider’s AI asset that can answer thousands of questions about a patient’s health.  It goes beyond high-risk patient populations to identify those on a trajectory to becoming high risk. It determines the interventions that will more effectively reduce risk and enable clinical action. And it accelerates time to value by leveraging established Eigen Spheres to drive intelligence across hospitals.

Trust and hybrid

Schmuland: Your announcement today about moving Jvion’s business and Cognitive Machine to Microsoft Azure must have been triggered by several convincing signals.

Sharma:  In two words, trust and hybrid.  Compared to other industries, healthcare is behind in moving to the cloud– mostly because of worries about compliance and cybersecurity risks.  But most health systems are now seeing compliance and cybersecurity as the justification for moving to the cloud and they’re realizing that the value of the cloud isn’t about cutting costs as much as it is about becoming a more agile organization, able to do new things in new ways and to respond more quickly to market changes.

So, the question for our customers isn’t “if” but “which” cloud service provider is the best fit for their business.  And the selection criterion that rises to the top is trust.

Our customers tell us that they trust Microsoft more than than the other major cloud service providers because of the safety, security, and reliability of the Azure platform.  Microsoft has more compliance certifications than any cloud provider, many of which the others just don’t have, including some HITRUST audits.  Azure enables us to provide our clients with the privacy, security, and compliance protections that they need and expect, and that alone can accelerate the sales process from months to weeks.

So, most important, running our business on Azure gives our customers peace of mind –and that becomes a differentiator for Jvion.

But the other thing that our customers like about Microsoft is that Microsoft offers them their own self-paced path to the cloud with their unique hybrid model–so moving to the cloud is never an all or nothing thing. Microsoft brings a single unified approach and architecture that spans from on premise to the cloud–so they can move to the cloud at their own pace without adding an additional cloud overhead expense–because Microsoft offers a unified programming model, identity model, security model, and management model for both on-premise and cloud implementations.

Speed to value, our tools, our language

Schmuland: That makes sense from the customers’ perspective.  Healthcare, it’s often said, moves only as fast as the speed of trust.  But what were the specific business advantages that drove your decision?  In other words, why is Azure a better fit for your business?

Sharma: Because Jvion’s Cognitive Machine leverages Eigen vectors, we can stand up our solution without having to re-build new models for every client. This aspect of our machine enables rapid time to market, flexibility and agility. But to realize such speed to value, the underlying platform must be equally as fast and as flexible. With Microsoft’s number one differentiator being speed to value, there is a clear synergy between Azure’s capabilities and Jvion’s. Azure helps us amplify the differentiation of our solution and drive the fastest value for our clients. And Azure is the only platform that enables Jvion’s Cognitive Machine to scale at the speed of businesses so that our clients realize the value of our machine to achieve the biggest possible impact on patient health outcomes.

The second differentiator that matters so much to us is that, because Microsoft supports open source, Azure allows us to use the tools that we prefer and the developer languages and machine learning tools that we prefer and are most familiar with.

Enterprise-ready, AI meets data where it is 

Schmuland: The last question I have for you is, Why now?  Were there a culmination of events or market insights that led you announce the switch?

Sharma: Over the last several years we’ve watched Microsoft aggressively invest in its compliant, enterprise-grade cloud to come from behind in the cloud wars and it’s clear that this investment is now paying off — I recently read that for the first time as of the first quarter, Microsoft now tops Amazon in cloud revenue and added 500 new Azure capabilities last year alone.

And, because of this investment, there’s one unique capability that Microsoft brings to the health industry that makes it such a perfect match.  There’s no AI without data, and in the healthcare industry, most of the data estates are on premise.  And this is where Microsoft’s comprehensive data platform shines. Only Microsoft provides the flexibility we need to quickly access data regardless of where it resides today—on premise, on the edge, in the cloud and everywhere in between. Unlike our prior cloud service provider who required our customers to first move their data to the cloud– with Azure we don’t have to force our customers to move their data estate.  We can meet them where they are – and that gives Jvion a big advantage over our competitors that have placed their bets on non-Microsoft cloud service providers.