This blog post was co-authored by John Doyle, Director of Cloud & AI for Microsoft Healthcare
From improving clinical decision making to better managing the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) applied to health and medicine are undeniable. 2021 is expected to be a year where health systems make unprecedented investments in AI to improve quality, reduce costs, and create more personalized experiences for patients and health consumers alike.
It is against this backdrop that KLAS Research recently named Microsoft as having the strongest Healthcare AI offering among large, cross-industry players. In its report, Decision Insights—Healthcare AI, half of respondents who shared perceptions of Microsoft believe we have a strong healthcare AI offering. The report also gives high marks to other data and AI companies leveraging Microsoft Azure as part of their AI offerings including Epic, Health Catalyst, Jvion, and KenSci. The report goes on to say that health organizations feel Microsoft has more healthcare expertise than the other cross-industry vendors, and calls out the benefits of Azure AI infrastructure and platform being integrated with other highly adopted Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Teams.
KLAS Research is a healthcare IT data and insights company providing the industry with accurate, honest, and impartial research on the software and services used by providers and payers worldwide.
This recognition from KLAS Research comes following the analyst firm of Frost and Sullivan recognizing Microsoft as the “undisputed leader” in global AI platforms for the Healthcare IT (HCIT) sector on the Frost Radar™. In a field of more than 200 global industry participants, Frost and Sullivan independently plotted the top 20 companies across various parameters indicative of growth and innovation. According to Frost and Sullivan, “Microsoft earned the top spot because of its industry-leading effort to incorporate next-generation AI infrastructure to drive precision medicine workflows, aid population health analytics, propel evidence-based clinical research, and expedite drug and treatment discovery.”
This is a sentiment also shared by Microsoft’s health partners, including notable partners featured in the KLAS report.
“Azure offers us the safety and reliability that healthcare customers demand while maintaining the flexibility that they need to define their own path to the cloud. With Microsoft, our clients gain access to a unified programming model, identity model, security model, and management model for both on-premises and cloud implementations.” —Dr. John Showalter, Jvion
Building on the strength of our data and AI platform, Microsoft recently announced the general availability of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare brings together trusted capabilities to customers and partners that enhance patient engagement, empower health team collaboration, and improve clinical and operational insights. It makes it faster and easier to provide more efficient care and helps to ensure the end-to-end security, compliance, and interoperability of health data.
Some of the features and benefits of our intelligent health-specific cloud offering include:
Azure API for FHIR enables the rapid exchange of Protected Health Information (PHI) data through Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) APIs, and is backed by a managed platform as a service (PaaS) offering. It makes it easier for anyone working with health data such as electronic medical records and research databases to ingest, manage, and persist information in the cloud creating new opportunities with analytics, machine learning, and actionable intelligence.
Azure Health Bot service empowers healthcare organizations to rapidly build and deploy AI-powered virtual health assistants and chatbots that can be used to enhance their processes, self-service, and cost reduction efforts. The Health Bot comes with built-in healthcare AI services such as clinical protocols and medical content from trusted industry sources, healthcare templates for rapid design, language understanding models that are tuned to understand medical and clinical terminology, and seamless hand-off to live chat and telehealth when required.
Medical Imaging Server for DICOM streamlines the process of ingesting medical imaging data in the cloud and is the first cloud technology which brings together DICOM and FHIR. By using the Medical Imaging Server for DICOM alongside the Azure API for FHIR or FHIR Server for Azure (OSS), data references are created between imaging data and clinical data in FHIR which help to create a better longitudinal view of the patient setting the stage for multiple scenarios which are difficult and expensive to execute in today’s on-premises systems.
Text Analytics for Health enables and simplifies the process of extracting insights from unstructured medical data. This AI service is currently in preview as part of Microsoft Azure Text Analytics and is trained on a diverse range of medical data covering various formats of clinical notes, clinical trials protocols, and more. This health feature can process a broad range of data types and tasks, without the need for time-intensive, manual development of custom models. Much of today’s healthcare data is in the form of unstructured text, such as doctor’s notes, medical publications, electronic health records, clinical trial protocols, medical encounter transcripts, and more.
The accolades Microsoft is receiving for our AI in Health offerings combined with the full launch of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare lays the foundation for our health customers and partners to build innovative solutions, leading to better experiences, better insights, and better care.