(CTN News) – On Tuesday, Microsoft announced new products aimed at helping health-care organizations access and learn from doctors’ and hospitals’ mountains of data.
According to a Deloitte report, the health care and life sciences industry generates more than 30% of all global data. However, because all that information is stored across different systems and formats, it can be difficult to leverage. It is estimated that 97% of the data generated by hospitals goes unused.
It has developed new health-care-specific tools for Fabric, its data and analytics platform announced in May, to address this issue, Microsoft said Tuesday at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas.
It can combine data from sources such as electronic health records, images, lab systems, medical devices, and claims systems, allowing organizations to standardize and access it from one place. As a result of the new tools, Microsoft says it will eliminate the “time-consuming” process of searching through these sources one by one.
Among its early adopters have been Northwestern Medicine, Arthur Health, and SingHealth, and it will be available in a preview capacity starting Tuesday.
Northwest Medicine’s chief information officer said the organization is still moving its data into the Fabric system, but it is already excited about its potential.
By consolidating disparate data, health systems will be able to improve care and see more patients, he said.
From understanding what’s happening in the OR to how many patients are coming in, data is king within health care now. What is the number of patients leaving the house or the hospital? How can you get them in faster? ” he said in an interview.
Northwestern is deploying Microsoft’s technology thoughtfully, but it could be a game changer if done well. According to him, the organization is considering future applications such as managing patient flow and staffing, as well as integrating broader population health data, such as food deserts.
The current state of technology and Microsoft Fabric and Azure, together with generative AI, will revolutionize our lives. The way we care for patients will change as a result. It’s probably our best shot at solving some of the biggest problems we have in health care,” he said.
Health tools powered by Azure AI
Tuesday, Microsoft also introduced new tools for health-care organizations within its Azure AI services.
The Azure AI Health Bot will pull information from a health organization’s internal data as well as reputable external sources, including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.
Microsoft Health and Life Sciences’ Linishya Vaz said the chatbot can help staff within an organization ask questions, such as how to treat a specific disease and what the internal protocols and processes are.
In addition, patients can ask the chatbot clarifying questions about their symptoms and medical terms they encounter through their patient portal.
During a press briefing, Vaz told reporters that guardrails and safeguards have been incorporated into the process. Make sure the customer can do an audit of the answers to make sure they are credible.”
Another Microsoft solution, called Text Analytics for health, can label and extract important medical information from unstructured data sources like clinical documents and notes. In addition to English, Vaz said the tool will be available in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Hebrew.
Lastly, Microsoft unveiled three new models within Azure AI Health Insights, a tool that helps doctors, nurses, and researchers make better decisions.
First, patient timelines consolidate information from different unstructured data sources to provide clinicians with a simple, chronological overview of a patient’s medical history.
“You can see instantly that there was a medical encounter here, a procedure was performed here, and this is the medication someone took,” Vaz explained.
A second model, called clinical report simplification, uses generative AI to simplify reports full of complex medical terminology into language that patients can understand.
A third model, radiology insights, identifies errors and inconsistencies across different reports to assist clinicians and radiologists. Follow-up recommendations can also be provided by the model.
According to Vaz, Microsoft’s new health-care tools within Azure AI will help improve patient experiences and allow clinicians to focus on providing better care. A preview of the new solutions will be available starting Tuesday, Microsoft announced.