Streamlining healthcare and life sciences operations with the cloud

Streamlining healthcare and life sciences operations with the cloud


Microsoft’s Agustin Nolte explains how technologies such as Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare are enabling organisations to deliver personalised and faster healthcare services, while also prioritising security and compliance 

Guest contributor |

With lives on the line, healthcare and life sciences organisations are continually seeking ways to enhance operational efficiency. Relentlessly pushing the boundaries of healthcare, these firms are embracing digital transformation and technologies built in the cloud to make operations more productive and secure.  

Agustin Nolte

“Cloud technologies are helping pave the way for more personalised healthcare, productive workers and better security for patient data,” says Microsoft’s Agustin Nolte

Using data to improve healthcare offerings

Telemedicine is transforming healthcare by enabling professionals to provide care to patients remotely. Remote patient monitoring systems use the internet of things (IoT) to streamline the collection of patient data outside of the traditional healthcare setting. These technologies save patients from unnecessary trips to healthcare facilities while freeing up providers to care for more patients. Healthcare providers can collect data from sensors, for example, embedded in medical devices worn by patients, and cloud-based systems analyse that data to enhance the speed and quality of care they receive.

IoT has led to the development of ‘smart labs’ too, which provide real-time monitoring with measurement tools in laboratories. These lab environments are often used for clinical trials to develop new treatments. Managing trials can be time-consuming and complex but cloud-based systems streamline the process by centralising clinical data, making collaboration easier while accelerating time to insights.

The ability to extract insights from mountains of stored clinical data helps clinicians to quickly spot trends in disease outbreaks and predict which patients are at higher risk of illness. On the business side, this data can be used to increase productivity, optimise the allocation of clinical resources and reduce costs.

Artificial intelligence is enabling new approaches to remote patient monitoring and telemedicine too. For example, Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX), which is powered by Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, uses AI to automatically document patient encounters accurately and efficiently at the point of care. According to Nuance, DAX Copilot “turns physicians’ words into a powerful productivity tool”, enabling healthcare providers to spend less time writing up clinical notes and more time providing care to patients. This technology is being used by healthcare companies like Teladoc Health to automate clinical documentation during virtual exams and ease the administrational burden on the workforce.

Nuance DAX

Nuance DAX is used by healthcare providers to record patient appointments (image credit: Nuance)

In good hands

Healthcare cybersecurity and risk management are more critical than ever. With increasing numbers of the aforementioned IoT devices transmitting private medical data over the internet, healthcare organisations must work to ensure data privacy, access control and threat detection. Encrypted messaging platforms enable secure communications between patients and their providers while ensuring regulatory compliance.

Microsoft’s cloud offerings enhance security with strict adherence to regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a set of healthcare laws in the USA for doctors’ offices, hospitals, health insurers and other healthcare companies to safeguard protected health information, and the European General Data Protection Regulation, which protects against the collection, processing and storage of an individuals’ data in Europe. Microsoft Azure has one of the largest compliance portfolios as a cloud solution and is based on various types of assurances, freeing organisations to devote more resources to innovation.

Meanwhile, the multi-layered security built into Azure – like advanced threat detection and encryption – create a more secure environment for sensitive data such as clinical research, intellectual property and patient records. Microsoft partners Commvault and Hitachi Solutions are helping organisations to leverage Microsoft solutions to protect data and ensure recovery readiness in the event of a security breach. Plus, Sapphire Health has developed an electronic health record platform, which integrates with Azure, that provides secured backup and clustered servers. This is necessary for healthcare and health sciences to keep operations running and scalable.

In conclusion, cloud technologies are helping pave the way for more personalised healthcare, productive workers and better security for patient data. The availability, reliability and security of cloud platforms such as Azure are a perfect fit for the needs of the health sciences industry.

Learn more about how healthcare providers are improving their services with cloud technologies by watching the Modernize health and life sciences operations with emerging technologies webinar series, which is hosted by Microsoft and selected partners.

Agustin Nolte is director partner marketing advisor at Microsoft

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