Microsoft extends reach into healthcare: 13 things to know

Microsoft launched significant healthcare products in the last year and deepened existing partnerships to support healthcare providers during the pandemic.

Hospitals across the U.S. use Microsoft's cloud service, Azure, and its Teams function to store data and coordinate projects. Both functions have been more critical than ever during COVID-19 case spikes.

1. Allscripts launched an updated EHR platform, Sunrise 20.0, which runs on Microsoft Azure. The two companies have a long-standing partnership, which they expanded in November.

2. Microsoft deployed its artificial intelligence models to detect cancerous tumors in CT scans at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England, on Dec. 9. The hospital has been collaborating at Microsoft's Cambridge Research Lab for eight years before launching the tool.

3. Durham, N.C.-based Duke University researchers partnered with Microsoft to create a ventilator-splitting system to help COVID-19 patients if there are supply shortages. The partners had been working together since March through the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium and announced their ventilator-splitting system in December.

4. Microsoft launched a cloud offering for healthcare organizations with digital tools for improved interoperability and data analysis on Oct. 28. The Cloud for Healthcare allows providers to connect with patients via telehealth, optimize insights and collaborate with other healthcare organizations.

5. On Oct. 12, Microsoft announced it took action to block Trickbot, known to distribute Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk has been cited in cyberattacks against hospitals during the pandemic.

6. University of California San Francisco teamed with Microsoft Azure, Intel and Fortanix to establish a confidential computing platform to accelerate the development and validation of clinical algorithms.

7. Epic EHR became the first medical record system to integrate the Microsoft Teams connector allowing clinicians and patients to launch telehealth visits through the platform.

8. Microsoft and Nuance partnered to integrate Nuance's ambient clinical intelligence solutions into Microsoft Teams for improved telehealth workflow. The initiative builds on an existing partnership between the companies to accelerate ambient clinical intelligence solutions.

9. In partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance and Adobe, Microsoft launched a new digital offering for personalized healthcare and shopping in June.

10. On June 18, Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine began a new five-year partnership with Microsoft Azure to strengthen its precision medicine initiative.

11. Tom McGuiness, former CEO of GE Healthcare's imaging business, was appointed Microsoft's new corporate vice president for healthcare in April. Microsoft welcomed Dr. Junaid Bajwa as its new chief medical scientist June 16. Dr. Bajwa is the former leader of strategic alliance and solutions for Global Digital Centre of Excellence at Merck Sharp & Dohme.

12. On April 1, Seattle-based Swedish Health Services tapped Microsoft to develop an app for hospital workers to view and report real-time data on COVID-19 patient volumes, personal protective equipment and other critical information.

13. Microsoft launched several new tech solutions in March to improve hospital and health systems' scheduling, cybersecurity, telehealth and data analytics capabilities. The new tools and updates included a Bookings app within the Microsoft Teams communication platform, which allows care teams to schedule and conduct virtual visits.

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