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The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for change that accelerated shifts in consumer preferences and healthcare delivery innovation. Health consumers, with a renewed focus on health and wellness and tighter budgets, have become more calculated about where they spend their money and the experience they expect from their care provider. Healthcare systems are also struggling to overcome the impacts of clinician burnout and the “great resignation”, which are continuing to drive significant challenges and budget ramifications. It’s incumbent on healthcare organizations to rapidly adapt to meet both the needs of patients and their caregivers. To adapt, providers need to consider an array of new shifts: new care models, improved patient access, flexible scheduling, enhanced clinical workflows, and maintaining the highest quality of care.  

At Microsoft Ignite 2022, we’re excited to share our latest release wave for Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, which helps support organizations navigating this changing environment. The solution showcases new tools to free up critical resources and support consumer-centric operating models that ease the burden on providers and help facilitate proactive healthcare, creating “customers” for life.

Enhance patient engagement

The economic case for consumer-driven healthcare is clear. Enhancing patient experience so that it is convenient, transparent, and personalized can drive greater patient satisfaction and reduce care costs. A recent McKinsey survey shows that satisfied patients who receive a more personalized, engaged experience report having 36 percent fewer visits and are 28 percent less likely to switch providers. These patients are also five to six times more likely to use other services from the same provider.1 While patients may generally be more involved in their healthcare, satisfied patients feel more empowered to engage in their own health and feel as though they are getting better care, leading to improved outcomes overall. 

In this latest release, we continue to improve patient insights to provide a more enriched 360-degree patient view that is at the center of many healthcare processes. Now, care teams see relevant information faster through the Patient snapshot (generally available) in the Unified patient view. It enables an organization to customize their own end-to-end scenarios leveraging low-code and no-code tools like Microsoft Power Apps to optimize the patient view summary. Now, organizations can create unique snapshots that meet the most relevant use cases and help support faster and better care management. 

We’ve also extended the Unified patient view with a Patient trends (preview) feature to share patient indicators based on computed measures and insights about patient activities, for example, the number of days since the last appointment or the number of hospitalizations in the last year. This feature can be customized once installed to help measure relevant activities for each organization. 

Missed appointments can have a significant cost for healthcare organizations through wasted time and resources. They not only lead to a decline in patients’ health, but the economic effects of patient no shows significantly affect clinic operations and fixed cost calculations, resulting in overstaffing and unscheduled downtime—ultimately leaving healthcare providers struggling with everyday operations. Additionally, research has also shown that patients are significantly more likely to miss an appointment if they have missed appointments in the past.2 The new Missed appointment prediction (preview) is a fully integrated AI solution that enables organizations to use AI to assess the likelihood that a patient will miss their next appointment. It also provides users with an explanation of the factors that influenced the prediction. Now, organizations can use these predictions to improve the decision-making process and take proactive measures, like care coordinators reaching out to the patient ahead of time, to help ensure patients will attend their next appointment and maintain continuity of care. Patients in turn have peace of mind knowing their physician’s office is prioritizing appointments that work best for them, building trust, and ensuring better patient-centric care.

Empower health team collaboration

Care plans are critical for healthcare organizations switching to value-based care to improve the quality and cost of care. With this new update for Care plan management (generally available), we have improved usability for care providers, making it easier to create and customize care plans to meet existing workflows and view a patient’s goals, interactions, and activities throughout their care journey. Organizations that leverage our Patient Access solution can now empower patients to update their activity progress in their care plan through the patient portal. Patients can view care plans, view upcoming, completed, overdue activities, and modify the status of an activity. Patients engaged in their own health and wellness are more likely to follow through with ongoing treatment and activity recommendations.

Patient journeys follow a series of interconnected events from being introduced, admitted, cared for, discharged, and possibly repeating a cycle as a retained patient. Later this year, we’ll release new Patient journey templates (preview) and tools to help organizations automate workflows across care management, and surface tasks and notifications to improve the quality of the patient journey. This capability will help save valuable time and create even more efficiency for care managers and administrative users who interact with the patients. It also includes out-of-the-box patient scenario templates for patient discharge, maternity care, diabetes management, and care plan off-track journeys.

During Microsoft Ignite 2022, we will also be joined by our partner Teladoc Health, who will share how the combination of communications, collaboration, and workflows in Microsoft Teams with Teladoc Health’s Solo™ will simplify the way healthcare organizations and clinicians work by streamlining the technology and administrative processes associated with providing virtual care.  

Working with Microsoft enables Teladoc Health to integrate with Teams, further strengthening care team communication and collaboration. Clinicians can securely access clinical data included within their electronic health record (EHR) system via Teladoc Health Solo without having to leave the Teams environment.

Data management

If there’s one thing 2022 has taught us is that data is truly a strategic asset for businesses today. The benefits of getting this right are significant. Harvard Business Review found that organizations that embrace data to drive transformations can experience a 54 percent growth in revenue and profits, 62 percent enhancement to customer satisfaction, and 44 percent faster time to market.3

As part of the ongoing strategy for Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, we are intentionally innovating with data at the center of all that we do and striving to make it easier for customers to manage, connect, and leverage their entire data estate. With the new Data integration toolkit, we have provided IT administrators and integration specialists with a single pane of capabilities and tools to set up, configure, and manage their data integration components. This will make it easier to enable health data exchange within an organization’s existing landscape.

We’re also excited to announce the full feature release of Dataverse healthcare APIs to support the bi-directional integration capabilities of Fast Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR) data. These APIs provide a new, improved way to integrate and exchange FHIR data between Microsoft Dataverse and FHIR endpoints like Microsoft Azure Health Data Services or EHR systems.

We continue to invest in health industry data models. With Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, we’re using FHIR R4 inspired data models to bring multiple systems and applications together by providing a “shared data model” for applications. This month, we’re releasing an updated Provider data model with an updated set of HL7® FHIR® R4 entities commonly used by customers and partners to build or extend their own healthcare apps leveraging Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. Later this year, we’ll release a Payor data model that contains the set of HL7® FHIR® R4 entities for health insurers and payors. Health data models simplify data management and app development by unifying data into common data model shapes and applying consistency across multiple apps and deployments. This leads to faster innovation and easier data interoperability across various health data systems.

Organizations today can spend a lot of time defining a harmonized and consistent plan for their enterprise data warehousing, clinical and operational analytics, or lake house initiatives. Our industry-specific health database templates in Azure Synapse are data models that act as blueprints and enable organizations to quickly jumpstart their analytics-based industry use cases. Customers and partners can customize and extend these standard templates using the database editor in Azure Synapse. Our latest release includes templates for providers, payors, pharmaceuticals, clinical trials, retail pharmacies, and genomics.

Our deep commitment to supporting healthcare organizations remains steadfast. Partnering in this evolving healthcare environment requires rapid response, predictive capabilities, and continued innovation to help realize value faster and strengthen the resilience of organizations moving forward.

Learn more at Microsoft Ignite 2022

Microsoft Ignite 2022 is a chance for us to reaffirm our commitment to serving our healthcare customers and demonstrate our commitment to equipping them with the most innovative healthcare tools, partners, and technologies in the industry. On October 12, 2022, I encourage you all to attend the online Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare session and see a demo of the latest feature release. You can also interact with us at Microsoft Ignite 2022 by joining our hybrid Ask the Experts session with Teladoc and Nuance, or if you’re joining us live in Seattle, you can attend our in-person Expert Meet-up session, and you can also take the opportunity to hear from Nuance at our live Ask the Experts session.  


1 The-next-frontier-of-healthcare-delivery.pdf (mckinsey.com)

2 Evaluating the Impact of Patient No-Shows on Service Quality – PMC (nih.gov)

3 How to lead a data-driven digital transformation by Harvard Business Review