NSW Health pilots Azure for real-time clinical diagnoses

NSW Health pilots Azure for real-time clinical diagnoses
Trial uploads pathology test results to the internet to help patients wherever they are

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Microsoft and Australian healthcare providers New South Wales (NSW) Health Pathology, eHealth NSW are trailing Microsoft Azure to quickly provide diagnoses and treatments for patients, wherever they are. 

The partnership is using point-of-care devices to upload encrypted pathology test results and clinical observations to the internet securely through the 4G mobile network. According to Microsoft, if the trial is successful, patients could be tested anywhere and have their pathology results available to clinicians in real-time.

Many hospitals, particularly those in rural settings, struggle to connect modern medical devices to electronic clinical systems due to lack of internet access. Using Microsoft Azure, clinicians will be able to access patient data regardless of the local IT infrastructure. 

“Point of care testing is vital to providing immediate, accurate results for certain pathology tests which can save lives in locations that don’t have 24/7 labs, so by enabling more services to offer this testing we’re helping clinicians diagnose and treat more patients more quickly,” said James Patterson, chief information officer at NSW Health Pathology. 

Microsoft is also enabling NSW Health Pathology to combine point of care pathology results with other vital signs results to predict the risk of sepsis and allow clinicians to act faster.

“Being able to run algorithms on patient information as it’s transmitted to their electronic medical record and apply analytics to help doctors detect when a patient is at risk of this condition is highly promising,” said Patterson. “Early detection and therefore earlier treatment will help save lives and help reduce the number of people suffering long-term complications.”

Microsoft Australia’s managing director Steven Worrall believes the trial could have major effects on the industry. “Eventually this approach could transform the way diagnostic tests are carried out, making sure those patients that most need it have access to real-time tests and results regardless of where they live,” he said.

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