Skip to content
Microsoft Industry Blogs

Doctor wearing a mask and stethoscope looking at a patient

It’s hard to believe another year of HIMSS is upon us and given the impact of COVID-19 on our society, we’ve all had to rethink how we approach connecting with community and engaging with audiences this past year. So, we are delighted that HIMSS21 will be offered both in-person and digitally—so everyone, everywhere can join together.

As a sponsor of HIMSS Digital 2021, within a best-in-class digital environment, we’re tailoring digital first experiences with the convenience you need, as healthcare’s brightest innovators across the globe—to explore new ideas, hear from thought leaders and urgently apply innovation that paves a digital path forward, as we all recover from the pandemic.

One thing we continue to hear from our healthcare customers is that disruptions stemming from the pandemic are here to stay, and every business needs to be on a digital journey. Those who have embraced digital resilience are creating dramatic gains in terms of agility, sustainability, and productivity. They are resetting benchmarks. They are investing for the long term—from the patient experience, care coordination and virtual health tools to data interoperability, and beyond.

Microsoft is proud to be a strategic partner to these companies, helping them accelerate their journeys by connecting and scaling care team collaboration, driving operational efficiency and the freedom to query health data on their terms with Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare solutions.

In October 2020, we announced Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and our vision: to create a resilient patient-centered healthcare journey. Since then, we’ve been hearing great feedback and releasing more enhanced capabilities that help organizations adapt to the disruption, and build scalable modalities of care while safeguarding patients, care teams, and assets—the keys to making healthcare more accessible, efficient, and affordable—for all.

Connecting data to care transformation

When communities have access to better data, they can make better decisions. However, progress has not been equal across the globe, and there is a great need to focus on societal issues such as reducing health inequity and improving access to care for underserved populations. While researchers work to unlock lifesaving discoveries and develop new approaches to urgent health issues, advancements in technology can help accelerate and scale new solutions.

Data interoperability issues, poor care coordination, and a lack of funding may deter social determinants of health data integration, leading to gaps in care and health disparities for individuals and whole communities. With the pandemic crisis, these gaps and disparities have only grown wider. Individuals living with chronic disease, people in underserved areas, and minority populations have been hit the hardest during the pandemic, highlighting underlying issues that have plagued the industry for years.

End to end pipelines for managing PHI in the cloud

Microsoft wants to empower you with the right tools so that you can do more with your data once it’s in the cloud. With Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) being adopted by healthcare organizations around the world and becoming a regulatory requirement in the United States, we are at a critical point where we can ensure the smooth and quick migration of data from on premises systems to the cloud, all while making it interoperable and ready for exchange. This becomes even more important as paradigms of care are changing and information is required to be shared, accessed and researched across payors, providers and patients. To be able to provide the best and personalized care to patients and to reduce the cost burden, we need to look beyond just clinical data—we need to consider its intersectionality across all types of healthcare data that impacts an individual patient. We’re excited to showcase technology at HIMSS21 which will help organizations achieve this very goal.

Transforming healthcare through virtual health

The next chapter of healthcare delivery won’t treat virtual health as a separate system, and instead will incorporate it as part of the broader omni-channel health care delivery model. Care teams will offer virtual care at the right time for each patient and will seamlessly have the right information for each patient encounter at their fingertips while artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) have an increasingly bigger role in revolutionizing care.

The pandemic supercharged the urgency to apply AI and NLP technologies to every medical discussion, decision, and diagnosis. Virtual health quickly became perhaps the most obvious example of the need for healthcare and technology to speak more fluently to each other. Providers and patients meeting on the digital screen moved from an emerging possibility to a necessity. AI empowered many of these human interactions. To cite just one example, AI-assisted health bots analyzed patient symptoms with unprecedented speed and precision, harnessing and clarifying data across towns, cities and even continents, making it possible for physicians and other caregivers to do the work of healing with new effectiveness, in a new world.

In July 2021, Text Analytics for Health, an NLP service within Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services, became generally available, and it’s a game changer. Words and phrases within unstructured text can be associated with identified healthcare and biomedical language and semantic types to unlock understanding, like the meaning of a symptom, a drug and dosing interval, linking the concepts to common clinical coding systems, understanding certainty, and even establishing relations between the entities. A whole new level of connection is created among medical professionals, researchers, data analysts, even software vendors. The entire ecosystem connects, becomes holistic, not walled off, leading to more efficient healthcare ecosystems and better care.

To enable connected experiences across physical and virtual points of care, we are collaborating closely with Teladoc Health, the global leader in whole-person virtual care. As a first step in our collaboration, we are working together to integrate Teladoc Health’s Solo platform for hospitals and health systems with Microsoft Teams. The combination of communications, collaboration, and workflows in Microsoft Teams with Teladoc Health’s medical-grade whole-person virtual care delivery solutions will simplify the way healthcare organizations and clinicians work by streamlining the technology and administrative processes associated with providing virtual care. As virtual care becomes more integrated into the broader healthcare delivery model, health systems are able to strengthen physician and patient access to best-in-class virtual health and enable a heightened focus on high quality care.

Connect with us at HIMSS Digital 2021

Given the challenges COVID-19 has created for many, we’re continuing to embrace digital-first experiences so that everyone can join in and participate—whether you’re back at your work office or in your home office or going to HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

If you’re registered for HIMSS21, we invite you to join Ramin Davidoff, MD, co-CEO of The Permanente Federation and Julie Brill, Microsoft’s CVP for Global Privacy & Regulatory Affairs to learn how to evolve resilient models of care, improve health equity and ensure lasting structural change. Tune in to their digital conversation on Tuesday, August 10th. Watch our UpNext virtual demo where we’ll show how Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare enables you to transform the healthcare journey while helping support security, compliance, and interoperability of health data. Explore our digital booth to learn about Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare capabilities which make it easier to improve the patient engagement, empower health team collaboration, and improve clinical and operational insights.

You can also join us in-person at the Nursing Informatics Roundtable and Reception on Wednesday, August 11, where we’ll host a lively discussion with a diverse group of informatics and innovation nursing leaders about individual and collective advances transforming healthcare through the use of analytics and AI.

Microsoft, along with our partners, are committed to supporting your business, no matter where you are on your digital transformation journey. Stay informed about Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare to learn how you can deliver better experiences, insights, and care.