Cloud for Healthcare

At the recently concluded virtual Build conference, Microsoft announced the launch of Cloud for Healthcare. This vertical industry-specific cloud offering from the technology giant is now available in public preview and as a free six-month trial. Microsoft expects to roll out the Cloud for Healthcare for general availability starting in the fourth calendar quarter of 2020.

The Cloud for Healthcare brings trusted and integrated capabilities together for healthcare organizations to improve their collaboration, decision making and operational efficiency. This will help healthcare organizations to better engage in a more proactive manner with their patients. It also allows caregivers to deliver effective care and actionable results with better streamlined workflows and interactions.

The Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare will bring together Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform with a common data model that makes it easier to share data between applications and analyze the data; built on a foundation of security and compliance. This helps to deliver better experiences, better insights and better care.

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

Check out this opening remarks video by Satya Nadella on the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare brings together both existing and future capabilities of the Microsoft Cloud ecosystem. In addition, the offer delivers rich data analytics for both structured and unstructured data that enable customers turn insights into action. The offering aims to bring together the following capabilities for customers and partners to enrich patient engagement and improve operational efficiencies –

  • Enhance patient engagement
  • Empower health team collaboration
  • Improve operational and clinical data insights

Enhance Patient Engagement

Healthcare organizations can better engage with their patients in more proactive ways by extending the value offered by Microsoft Dynamics 365. Healthcare providers can create care plans that are customized for patients, or groups of patients. In addition, they can make relevant content and proactive outreach to patients on specific devices when the patients need it.

Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot Service has been delivering assistance to healthcare providers to build COVID-19 self assessment tools. There have been over 1,600 instances of COVID-19 bots that have gone live since March. This service has impacted more than 31 million people across 23 countries. These self assessment bots have been very useful as it addresses the most common questions faced by users and reduces the stress on the hospital emergency hotlines.

The Cloud for Healthcare offering also gives the benefit to physicians and care teams to build enhanced patient engagement portals. Both patients and providers can interact with each other through the portal and perform the common tasks like appointment booking, setting up reminders, bill payments, virtual patient follow-ups through surveys and assessments etc. There are similar portals that already exist, but this will give a better seamless experience for the provider in terms of connectivity and adaptability to other areas of the care infrastructure.

Physicians and care teams can also create referrals, search for other providers, and understand physician spend, satisfaction, and enhanced analytics on referral categories through different patient outreach approaches. Providers can use Microsoft Power Platform to generate secure, scalable data from medical devices for care teams to continuously monitor patients. With real-time patient insights, care teams can provide timely, personalized, predictive care.

Empower Health Team Collaboration

Cloud for Healthcare offering will help healthcare teams to collaborate, coordinate care, and generate insights that will improve the patient outcomes and team performance. Better collaboration results in faster decisions and improved care.

Microsoft has been investing in building capabilities on Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams that will provide a secure platform for connected care coordination. The Microsoft Teams Patients app integrates with electronic health record (EHR) systems using a Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) interface to bring valuable medical information into Microsoft Teams.

The COVID-19 has put a lot of stress on the healthcare staff and frontline workers. It’s important to realize the fact that clinicians also need greater flexibility and convenience in how they are able to connect with patients. To tackle this situation, Microsoft announced the general availability of the Bookings app in Teams that enables healthcare providers to schedule, manage, and conduct provider-to-patient virtual visits within Microsoft Teams. The Bookings app will send patients an email of their appointment schedule. Patients can join their virtual appointment in a single click from their computer or mobile phone (both iOS and Android).

Improve clinical and operational data insights

The present pandemic situation around the world has forced healthcare organizations and clinical providers to create apps and workflows in just hours instead of days/months. These apps and workflows provide valuable data and insights in real-time. As a result, providers can deliver individualized care plans for patients.

Cloud for Healthcare will offer first-class interoperability between Microsoft Teams and Power Apps to build automated workflows. Many organizations organizations are now relying on these new interoperability solutions to manage their coronavirus response to patients.

Cloud on Healthcare – Built on Interoperability, Trust and Security

Organizations are already taking advantage of capabilities such as FHIR to organize and collaborate with the health data within the cloud. This gives healthcare organizations the freedom to perform remote work and deliver care to patients without having to physically interact with patients. Healthcare providers can take advantage of the generally available Azure FHIR Service that allows them to ingest and persist the data in FHIR format. Providers who have already been taking advantage of FHIR on Azure have been able to collaborate effectively with their patients and deliver better care.

Overall, Microsoft is looking to improve the healthcare infrastructure by taking advantage of different aspects of the Cloud technology. This is the first amongst a set of cloud offerings that is planned for specific industry verticals.

How VNB Health can help you?

VNB Health has 15 years of experience providing healthcare interoperability and care coordination services using Microsoft platform. As a Certified Microsoft Healthcare Cloud Partner, we can help you build healthcare solutions using Microsoft cloud technologies. You can leverage our P3 Bridge for FHIR to integrate your EHR systems with Microsoft Teams Patient Apps, Dynamics 365 for Healthcare and/or any custom Power Apps solution. We can help you build customized Apps for healthcare using PowerApps and Clinical, Administration or Financial analytics using Power BI.

Contact us today for a free consultation of your current environment and have a discussion with one of our expert FHIR Apps consultants.