Microsoft reveals new AI and cloud-powered health initiatives

Clare Hopping

2 Mar, 2018

Microsoft has unveiled a range of initiatives to boost its presence in the healthcare and science verticals, with their foundations in AI and the cloud.

As an extension of the company’s Healthcare NExT scheme, which aims to boost innovation in the healthcare sector, this latest announcement will see the company’s groundwork come into fruition.

“The explosion of data, incredible advances in computational biology, genomics and medical imaging have created vast amounts of data well beyond the ability of humans to comprehend,” Peter Lee, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s AI and Research division said.  

“Clinicians and care teams are yearning to swivel their chairs from the computer and pay more attention to the patient, yet still they spend two-thirds of their time interacting with burdensome IT systems. And healthcare organizations everywhere still struggle with the lack of operational and regulatory clarity in managing and analyzing the datasets that they are generating every day.”

Microsoft Genomics is the first launch. It offers researchers and data scientists a cloud platform on which they can process genomics using their data-rich workloads. The company has partnered with St. Jude Childrens Hospital to pilot the technology for research into childhood diseases.

Microsoft Azure Security and Compliance Blueprint: HIPAA/HITRUST – Health Data & AI is an end-to-end app development engine built to help healthcare organisations move to the cloud, with security and compliance at the centre. The company has also launched Microsoft 365 Huddle Solution Templates to help health teams collaborate more effectively as part of Microsoft Teams.

AI Network for Eyecare has been expanded and become AI Network for Healthcare, growing to include cardiology thanks to a partnership with Apollo Hospitals in India, while Microsoft’s Project Empower MD is being developed in partnership with UPMC to create an AI-powered system to help with patient diagnosis via learning from physician/patient conversations.

“Our mission at Microsoft is to empower every person and organization to achieve more, and with that in mind, our ambition is that innovators will be able to use AI and the cloud to unlock biological insight and break data from silos for a truly personal understanding of human health and in turn, enable better access to care, lower costs and improved outcomes,” Lee added.