Back in September at the Ignite event, Microsoft announced the general availability of a new service called Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare that will be launched by the end of October, specifically October 30th.
This new service can help healthcare professionals develop and automate scenarios like virtual visits, virtual waiting rooms, targeted consults, integration with EHR systems using FHIR and HL7, patient management, self-service portals, and more.
To achieve this, Microsoft is leveraging some of their existing technologies like Microsoft Teams, for telehealth consults between healthcare professionals and their patients and Power Apps for the creation of bots and workflows that help automate communication with patients.
One of their most interesting features is the release of an open-source Medical Imaging Server for storing DICOM files. This DICOM server can be easily deployed to Azure, provides APIs that follow the DICOMweb™ standard and also integrates with the Azure API for FHIR allowing customers to create new and innovative solutions.
Historically the Healthcare industry has been one of the most reluctant industries to make a move to the cloud due to the nature of their data. It is really important for the players in this industry to keep information about their patients safe, secure and compliant with international laws. To solve the concerns, cloud providers like Azure are making sure that the information follows standards and laws like HIPAA and HITECH for patient information protection. For instance, they have released a set of open-source tools for data Anonymization to help manage, ingest and persist protected health information (PHI) in the cloud.
Microsoft is joining this important market in a moment that’s more than critical for the healthcare industry as we keep going through one of the deadliest pandemics in history.
Other cloud providers like Google have been already offering healthcare services for a few years, with services like storing information in FHIR format, handling communication using HL7, providing DICOM stores and patient management APIs. Having Microsoft offering their own services will make the competition more interesting and will push the development of better and more innovative services in this area.
At MAS Global we are really excited to get to explore these new services once they become generally available, and If you are interested too and want to learn more about them, both as a partner or as a customer, signup for a preview here.
By Luis Alberto Mejia
Technical Architect – Senior .NET Developer