Technology Record - Issue 28: Spring 2023

In the midst of increasing operating costs, overworked clinicians and longer waiting times for treatment, the healthcare industry needs effective solutions fast. Chief medical officer David Rhew discusses the important role of data and Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare BY ELLY YATES-ROBERTS FEATURE The road to recovery “ Microsoft helped to empower communitybased organisations through public-private partnerships, technology and data” According to figures from the British Medical Association, October 2022 saw a record 7.21 million UK citizens waiting for healthcare treatment. In addition, 410,983 patients waited over a year for treatment, which is approximately 265 times the number of people waiting an equivalent length of time pre-pandemic. Similar statistics can be seen all over the world. For example, data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that 2021-2022 saw the lowest number of elective surgeries at public hospitals for over a decade, since resources were redirected to deal with Covid-19 cases. The pandemic caused a backlog in the delivery of routine medical care, which healthcare providers are now struggling to overcome. And Sweden, which had mostly been able to maintain routine medical appointments such as cancer screenings and treatment, saw hospital visits decrease by 16 per cent between March and September 2020, according to research published in Cancer Epidemiology. “The pandemic has had a profoundly negative impact on healthcare providers,” says Dr David Rhew, global chief medical officer and vice president of healthcare at Microsoft. “Clinician burnout is at an all-time high. Clinicians feel overworked, underappreciated and frustrated, and many are leaving the practice. While clinician burnout was present before the pandemic, it has significantly worsened in the past couple of years.” Healthcare provider organisations are also suffering. “With staff shortages, higher operating expenses and decreased revenues, many healthcare provider organisations are facing financial challenges,” says Rhew. “And of course, the negative impact of the pandemic on patients, families and communities cannot be overstated.” While much of the focus has been on the direct impact that Covid-19 has had on hospitalisations and death rates, Rhew fears that the next few years may see negative implications on the 156