Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare will be generally available on October 30, the software behemoth announced this week.
The platform will include managed services designed to support healthcare organizations, such as self-service portals and applications, data analytics and care collaboration tools, clinician collaboration software, and other capabilities.
“We are committed to providing better connectedness to drive even greater outcomes across providers, payors, pharma, and med tech organizations,” says Microsoft on its Cloud for Healthcare website.
Microsoft also announced the Microsoft Teams electronic health record connector, which will allow clinicians and patients to launch a telehealth visit or virtual consult directly from their EHR system.
Epic will be the first EHR system to integrate with Teams in this way.
WHY IT MATTERS
Microsoft previewed its Cloud for Healthcare platform earlier this year, featuring a number of capabilities aimed at facilitating provider collaboration and boosting operational insights.
Healthcare teams can create unique care plans for patients or groups of patients, allowing providers to set up remote health monitoring, chatbot interactions or as-needed telehealth visits.
The system also incorporates the Bookings app into Microsoft Teams, which is HIPAA-compliant, to smooth the process of conducting telehealth appointments.
Care teams can use FHIR, IoT, EHR and other applications to make decisions around patient treatment plans, according to the company.
“Even before the current global pandemic, the healthcare industry has been in the midst of a massive shift marked by the rise of team-based care due to increased medical specialization, exponential growth in the volume of digital patient data, and increasingly demanding data protection requirements,” said corporate vice president of Worldwide Health Tom McGuiness and corporate vice president of Microsoft Health Dr. Gregory J. Moore in a blog post in May about the launch.
THE LARGER TREND
Microsoft’s moves to ramp up cloud computing technology for healthcare organizations – made especially relevant amidst the COVID-19 crisis – follow similar efforts from other tech giants. In April, Google announced the launch of its Google Care Healthcare API, intended to enable standardized information sharing between healthcare apps and Google Cloud systems.
“We’re in a time where technology needs to work fast, securely, and most importantly in a way that furthers our dedication to our patients,” said Dr. John Halamka, president of Mayo Clinic Platform, in a statement accompanying that launch. The Mayo Clinic has been using Google’s Healthcare API since the launch of a partnership in 2019.
ON THE RECORD
“Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare Brings together trusted and integrated cloud capabilities to empower care teams, coordinate care, and generate insights that help improve patient outcomes and workflow effectiveness,” said the software company on the Cloud for Healthcare site.