The world is very different today than it was just a year ago. The realities of COVID-19 have challenged us all. The pandemic rearranged our health and wellness priorities while teaching us some valuable lessons.
When faced with a crisis, we’ve learned that health systems and health leaders are capable of agile transformation. One need only look at the heroic efforts of doctors, nurses, and others who quickly moved from traditional care processes to new ways of providing care using telemedicine, remote monitoring, and virtual collaborations.
COVID-19 also shined a light on healthcare workers’ struggles on the frontlines of the pandemic. We’ve demonstrated that the digital transformation of healthcare offers the potential to further empower clinicians and reduce burnout.
In the pharma world, we’ve witnessed the warp-speed development of vaccines many people thought were impossible to produce a year ago. Today they are available to everyone.
While the physicians, nurses, researchers, public health experts, and others are the stars of our success, AI and other digital solutions played a supporting role. We’ve been able to show how such things help drive rapid time to value.
As we dust ourselves off from the past year, there is something else we are learning about the power of coming together. More of us are recognizing that when we come together and enlist the growing capabilities of AI and other digital transformation tools, we have the ability to solve big problems that affect both the health and well-being of our families and our planet. This sentiment is now moving from an aspiration to an expectation.
Microsoft recently teamed up with The Economist to study and report on how the relationship between technology, business, and people has evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic. What caught my eye in this report is how concern for people and society is showing up as a key theme. Most companies participating in the study say that the pandemic has highlighted the need to contribute more powerfully to social outcomes—75 percent said digital transformation should go beyond business success to support societal improvements like creating a more inclusive, accessible workforce; improving health; and addressing carbon footprints.
With the above in mind, I was excited to see Microsoft named by Fast Company as this year’s World Changing Company of the Year. This honor highlights innovative solutions developed by Microsoft and its partners and customers that are addressing issues ranging from the climate to health and education.
If you want to be part of this movement to do collective good, I’d encourage you to check out our AI for Good program. It provides the technology and resources to empower organizations working to solve global challenges to the environment, health, humanitarian issues, accessibility, and cultural heritage.