Microsoft launches Healthcare NExT initiative

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 21 February 2017
Microsoft launches Healthcare NExT initiative

Microsoft has launched Healthcare NExT initiative and other health-focused programmes to enable partners to use its cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), research and industry expertise to transform healthcare.

Healthcare NExT will enable Microsoft’s partners to benefit from greenfield research and health technology product development, while enabling Microsoft to establish a new model for forming strategic health industry partnerships.

“Through these collaborations between healthcare partners and Microsoft’s AI and Research organisation, our goal is to enable a new wave of innovation and impact using Microsoft’s deep AI expertise and global-scale cloud,” said Peter Lee, corporate vice president, Microsoft Research NExT, in a blog post.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), one of the largest integrated healthcare networks in the US, has already joined the Healthcare NExT. Together, Microsoft and UPMC plan to focus on developing new solutions for clinician empowerment and productivity and bringing them to market, starting with implementation at UPMC.

“Despite UPMC’s efforts to stay on the leading edge of technology, too often our clinicians and patients feel as though they’re serving the technology rather than the other way around,” said Steven Shapiro, managing director, chief medical and scientific officer of UMPC and president of UPMC’s Health Services division. “With Microsoft, we have a shared vision of empowering clinicians by reducing the burden of electronic paperwork and allowing the doctor to focus on the sacred doctor-patient relationship.”

Other Microsoft healthcare projects include research-based HealthVault Insights, which allows partners to generate new insights about patient health, drive adherence to care plans and encourage patient engagement powered by machine learning. Tribridge and System C & Graphnet Care Alliance are building on HealthVault Insights to create innovative solutions for patient adherence to provider care plans.

Microsoft Genomics is making the sample-to-answer process fast and easy through a Microsoft Azure-powered genome analysis pipeline and an orchestrated ecosystem of partners like BC Platforms and DNAnexus.

Microsoft’s AI health chatbot technology is also a research-based project that will enable partners to build AI-powered conversational health care tools. MDLIVE will use the technology to help patients self-triage inquiries before they interact with a doctor via video. Premera Blue Cross, the largest health plan in the Pacific Northwest, plans to use it to transform how members can look up information about their health benefits.

Meanwhile, Project InnerEye is a research-based, AI-powered software tool for radiotherapy planning. It will allow dosimetrists and radiation oncologists to achieve 3D contouring of patients’ planning scans in minutes rather than hours. The assistive AI technology gives experts full control of the output accuracy while enjoying high levels of consistency and potential cost savings.

RingMD, Careflow, Cambio and GE Healthcare have all used Microsoft Office 365 Virtual Health Templates to connect patients and healthcare providers through voice, video and messaging in any interface or application, powered by Microsoft Skype for Business.

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