As medical technology and imaging tools improve rapidly to exponentially to provide better, more targeted care to patients, the processes and technology used to run a medical practice remain largely unchanged since the proliferation of the personal computer. Entire industries and career fields exist to manually schedule, triage, and process medical data, so it should come as no big surprise that the tech involved in supporting the medical practice has been so resistant to new technology and changes.
The 2020 pandemic of COVID-19 has forced nearly every industry to examine their processes and make them work in a world of social distance and working from home. The healthcare industry has been forced to adopt radical changes to be successful right now, and Microsoft has built a platform powerful enough to enable more patients to receive treatment while still showcasing the personality of the support staff and front line workers that make your practice a unique family.
Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare
Microsoft 365 was built to make the entire journey of client relationships seamless and secure. With Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, features and functionalities developed specifically for the medical community are front and center.
Bookings is a powerful app enabling your staff and patients to schedule and manage appointments, and even conduct those visits virtually via Microsoft Teams Meetings, a robust video-conferencing platform built on the Sharepoint server. Patients can join their virtual telehealth visit from any internet connected device, and Microsoft has confirmed that the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Teams platforms support HIPAA compliance and are HITRUST certified.
As medical advisements and practices are changing and being amended constantly while the scientific community works around the clock to slow the spread of COVID-19 and provide clinicians with guidelines for safe practice, Microsoft has enabled a powerful feature within MS Teams to send Teams Messages to staff targeted specifically by shift, making it easier than ever to relay important news and changes to workers that will be affected by the most recent updates. Reclaim hours of productivity at the start of every shift that was previously lost to reading and deleting irrelevant or out-of-date email announcements.
Built on the Azure Cloud
Like all Microsoft and M365 products, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is built on the Azure cloud management platform, and incorporates cutting-edge Microsoft tools like Dynamics 365, Power BI, and the Power-Platform. Relying on Microsoft’s CDM (common data model), Microsoft promises “automation and efficiency on high value workflows” and deep data analysis on both structured and unstructured data. Another major value of the Azure platform is the Azure Sphere IoT, extending privacy standards and security encryptions to safeguard your client data across all the connected devices your practice utilizes.
Microsoft Health Bot
As the world struggled to understand the full scope and reach of COVID-19 symptoms, medical professionals were overloaded with patients seeking diagnostic information. Built on the Azure platform and integrating medical knowledge and triage software from Infermedica, Microsoft Health Bot has been able to alleviate some of the diagnostic requests bottleneck. The CDC, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Walgreens, and healthcare systems across the world have all used Healthcare Bot to free up practitioners to do the lifesaving work needed in their hospitals. The Microsoft Health Bot SaaS enables healthcare organizations such as hospitals, insurance providers, payers, pharmacies, HMOs, and telehealth administrators to build and deploy AI-driven assistants to triage patients and provide a compliant, conversational healthcare experience at scale.
Microsoft and the CDC worked together to create COVID-19-specific response templates that customers can use and modify:
- COVID-19 risk assessment based on CDC guidelines
- COVID-19 clinical triage based on CDC protocols
- COVID-19 up-to-date answers to frequently asked questions
- COVID-19 worldwide metrics
Insurance companies and underwriters use Healthcare Bot to alleviate excessive hold times on the phone by building virtual assistants that can answer questions about policy coverages, finding a network provider, and more.
Azure API for FHIR & EHR
Medical record sharing and access to personal health information is proving vital to the COVID-19 response. The new open-source Microsoft server for FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) built on Azure allows for rapid exchange of data in the HL7 FHIR standard format with a single, simplified data management solution for protected health information (PHI). Azure API for FHIR lets you quickly connect existing data sources, such as electronic health record systems and research databases. Use the Power Shell Platform to create new opportunities with analytics, machine learning, and actionable intelligence across your health data.
The Azure API for FHIR allows organizations to leverage the power of an open-source standard that evolves with the science of healthcare.
Choose Innovation, Choose Microsoft
Despite the challenges the world faces in the response to COVID-19, Windows Management Experts sees a moment like now as the best time to adopt powerful new technologies and re-examine your business practices to create an organization that lasts into the future, evolving with new business and social landscapes.