The world after this pandemic will not be the same as the one that came before it.
From remote teamwork and telehealth, to supply management and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security—we are working alongside customers every day to help manage through a world of remote everything.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of people’s lives and every aspect of the healthcare system. It’s preventing healthcare delivery practices from operating at normal business levels, it’s disrupting patient access to high-quality medical care, and it’s forcing everyone to think about how to continue pushing forward in new and different ways. Our commitment has always been to ensure the tools we provide are up to the task of supporting our customers in their time of need. Hear CEO Satya Nadella’s words for more on Microsoft’s thoughts for our healthcare workers.
In that same spirit, Microsoft is announcing its first industry-specific cloud offering, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, now available in public preview and through a free trial for the next six months. The offer brings together existing and future capabilities that deliver automation and efficiency on high-value workflows, as well as deep data analytics for both structured and unstructured data, that enable customers to turn insight into action. A robust partner ecosystem extends the value of the platform with additional solutions to address the most pressing challenges the healthcare industry is facing today. Healthcare will be the first industry served with additional industry-specific clouds to follow.
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare brings together trusted and integrated capabilities for customers and partners that enrich patient engagement and connects health teams to help improve collaboration, decision-making, and operational efficiencies. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare will support accelerated health transformation into the future, with capabilities for customers spanning the most important needs for healthcare organizations:
- Enhancing patient engagement
- Empowering health team collaboration
- Improving operational and clinical data insights
- Cloud built on interoperability, security, and trust
- Extensible healthcare partner ecosystem
Enhance patient engagement
More than ever, being connected is critical to creating an individualized patient experience. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare helps healthcare organizations to engage in more proactive ways with their patients, allows caregivers to improve the efficiency of their workflows and streamline interactions with patients with more actionable results. Organizations can use Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare to extend the value of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, and Azure IoT to deploy:
- Consumer-friendly patient experience: healthcare organizations can create individualized care plans for patients, or groups of patients, that allows providers to publicize relevant content and proactive outreach to patients on any device when they need it. Deploy secure virtual visits, chatbot assessments, and remote health monitoring to create a connected health experience. One of those tools is our Microsoft Healthcare Bot Service. Since March, more than 1,600 instances of COVID-19 bots based on our service have gone live impacting more than 31 million people across 23 countries. The CDC and healthcare systems from Seattle to Copenhagen, and from Rome to Tel Aviv, are using this service to create COVID-19 self-assessment tools to reduce some of the strain on their emergency hotlines.
- Connected physician and referral management: care teams can easily create referrals, search for providers, and understand physician spend, satisfaction, and enhanced analytics on referral categories.
- Enhanced patient engagement portals: patients and providers can easily interact through this self-service portal which enables various healthcare tasks such as online appointment booking, reminders, bill pay, and much more. This also allows providers the ability to engage with patients easily through the device of their choice.
- Intelligent patient outreach: enables healthcare organizations to design interactive patient journeys to nurture leads, publicize relevant events, and contact patients with preventative and care management programs that help promote better health outcomes.
- Continuous patient monitoring through IoT: generate secure, scalable data ingestion from medical devices to allow care teams to monitor patients in and outside of clinical facilities. With real-time insights, care teams can provide timely escalations of care, reduce readmissions, and provide personalized, predictive care.
Empower health team collaboration
Even before the current global pandemic, the healthcare industry has been in the midst of a massive shift marked by the rise of team-based care due to increased medical specialization, exponential growth in the volume of digital patient data, and increasingly demanding data protection requirements. Too often, the tools providers use to coordinate patient care are fragmented and impede the collaborative workflows required in a complex care environment.
To address these challenges, we have been building capabilities in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams that streamline healthcare workflows and provide a secure platform for connected care coordination. Teams, which supports HIPAA compliance and is HITRUST certified, brings together chat, voice and video meetings, and offers recording and transcription, as well as secure messaging features, available across devices.
As we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians also need greater flexibility and convenience in how they are able to connect with patients. Today we are announcing general availability of the Bookings app in Teams, which enables healthcare providers to schedule, manage, and conduct provider-to-patient virtual visits within Teams.
In an effort to protect patients and providers while maintaining continuity of ambulatory care, healthcare providers including St. Luke’s University Health Network, Stony Brook Medicine, and Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust in the U.K. have been using teams to conduct virtual patient visits and provide continuity of care while protecting providers and patients. Patients receive a customized email and can join their appointment in one click on a desktop, or in the Microsoft Teams iOS or Android Mobile apps.
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare brings together existing and future capabilities important to how care teams communicate, collaborate, coordinate care, and generate insights that help improve patient outcomes and workflow effectiveness.
Improve clinical and operational data insights
Healthcare organizations are taking advantage of building virtual agents, automating workflows, analyzing data, and sharing insights in real-time. COVID-19 has accelerated the urgent need for healthcare organizations to create no-code/low-code apps and workflows in hours or days, not weeks or months. Thousands of organizations are relying on new integration between Microsoft Teams and Power Apps to share timely information.
In just two weeks, Swedish Health Services, the largest non-profit health provider in the Seattle area, used Power Apps to build a solution to track critical supplies.
Microsoft’s newest releases that support FHIR technology enabled the Chicago Dept of Public Health (CDPH) and Rush Hospital with an end to end solution to bring together clinical, lab and capacity data analysis in just a few days to support the COVID crisis. Using the C-CDA converter to FHIR converter, the API for FHIR—a cloud-based FHIR Server, and the Power BI FHIR connector, CDPH was able to ingest data in different formats with a simple API call, convert it to FHIR and add visualizations and downstream analytics that enabled rapid connectivity of data and interoperability across multiple hospitals.
Cloud built on interoperability, security, and trust
Underpinning all these great capabilities is our focus and commitment to interoperability, security, and compliance. We know that to provide the best care, healthcare organizations need to be able to consume, access, and share information rapidly and securely.
The future of highly secure data agility in the cloud– and the interoperability tools that healthcare organizations need to organize their health data in the cloud around FHIR – are integrated into Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. Last year Microsoft was the first cloud to offer a generally available Azure FHIR service—which allows healthcare organizations to ingest and persist data in the FHIR format.
Healthcare organizations that are already underway with open standards like FHIR have been able to collaborate in rapid time, and it’s given their teams the ability to care for patients with a high level of agility. We’re seeing examples all around the globe and it’s been both humbling and inspiring to see the FHIR technology we’ve built specifically for health workloads in Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare support these efforts.
Security and compliance remain a strategic priority for healthcare organizations, and the shift to remote work only increases the need for integrated, end-to-end security architecture that reduces both cost and complexity. Microsoft has the highest levels of commitment to trust, security, and meeting industry compliance standards and certifications in the industry.
Extensible healthcare partner ecosystem
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare also enables healthcare systems to take advantage of our robust ecosystem of healthcare partners who can provide solutions that complement and extend core cloud capabilities. Using these partners’ expertise will help organizations through EHR and platform integrations, implementation services, and healthcare SaaS offerings. Microsoft is proud to work closely with the leading providers of health systems, from organizations like Accenture, Adaptive Biotechnologies, Allscripts, DXC Technology, Innovaccer, KPMG, and Nuance to co-develop new solutions with leaders in their respective sectors like Humana, Providence, Novartis, and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
What’s powerful about these tools is that they’re being used not just by providers in the delivery of healthcare but by ISVs, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, and government systems. We’ve seen companies like KenSci—a healthcare AI & data management platform—launch their Mobile Command Center with Real Time Bed Management, Ventilator Utilization, and Capacity Planning for COVID-19. In just 48 hours they can create a hospital solution—even those using legacy data systems—and help manage their data in the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare using the open standard of FHIR.
Commitment to industry
We know that technology has a role to play in accelerating progress for solutions to the pandemic and other pressing healthcare concerns and challenges. Looking ahead, we expect to see healthcare organizations continue to use newly implemented technology tools throughout the recovery period and into the new normal. Companies that need to accelerate their digital transformation during this time will continue to rely on trusted partners who can support their trust, security, and technology adoption into the future.
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare will make it easier for them to remain agile and focus on what they do best – delivering better experiences, insights, and care.