Dr Zainab Atiku Bagudu sitting at a table using a laptopThe connection between patients, care teams, and data is fundamental to delivering the best possible outcomes. Health organizations are investing in new care services, like virtual visits, home health, and remote patient monitoring, that allow them to connect with patients and provide an experience that is well-informed with essential health data. In meeting with our customers every day, we know that health organizations continue to have increased focus on how to accelerate their digital agendas to better serve their patients, and empower employees, while at the same time find ways to reduce costs and time to value. Our customers are clear that they need industry specific cloud services tailored to their needs and challenges.

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare continues our commitment to meet and support our customers through these evolving healthcare challenges. This industry-specific cloud provides trusted and integrated capabilities that makes it easier for organizations to create personalized patient experiences, gives health teams connected and secure collaboration tools, and adopts data standards that are important to healthcare. Organizations can use AI that combine multiple sources to give full visibility into data, relieve administrative burden, and improve process and workflow automation to create actionable insights that can help deliver better care faster and at a lower cost. Our extensive ecosystem of healthcare partners are dedicated to serving customers by helping provide more integrated healthcare solutions that extend the core capabilities across the continuum of care and identify new opportunities for innovation.

Today, I’m pleased to share more about new updates to Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, that address some of the real-world needs for healthcare organizations and our partners.

Enhancing patient engagement

Recently announced healthcare frontline worker and patient enhancements to Microsoft Teams are designed to help enhance the patient experience and improve care coordination. Prior to an appointment, schedulers can streamline virtual visits by securing patient info before appointments with Microsoft Forms integrated into Bookings. As patients are ready to join a virtual visit from a mobile device, they aren’t prompted to download Teams. Teams will now open in a mobile browser without the need to install an app.

The new Waiting Room in Microsoft Teams, now available in preview, ensures every patient feels welcome with virtual waiting rooms designed with the organization’s logo, personalized messaging, and real-time visit notifications. Frontline workers can preview all their virtual visits in one simplified location—with real-time updates on patient wait times, missed appointments, staffing delays, and more. Providers can also send SMS and email reminders directly from the queue view to keep patients up to date.

Empowering frontline healthcare workers and patients

In a post-pandemic world, where quarantining and social distancing may no longer be the norm, the next chapter of healthcare delivery will not treat virtual health as a separate system, but as part of a broader omnichannel healthcare delivery model that balances virtual and in-person care. Gartner predicts, by 2022, 30 percent of outpatient encounters will be virtual, representing 15 percent of revenue, and making the effectiveness of this new care setting a leading strategic objective for healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs).1

Healthcare systems using an omnichannel approach are adjusting the way they triage, evaluate, and care for patients using methods that do not rely on in-person services. We continue to see a tremendous long-term benefit for virtual patient experiences. Whether it’s enabling a virtual assistant with Azure Health Bot’s built-in medical triage and symptom checker, a virtual visit between a frontline healthcare worker and a patient, or physicians collaborating on a patient case—virtual visits are here to stay.

One of our goals is to make the lives of frontline workers and customers easier. For those that are scheduling or conducting virtual visits in healthcare, this experience is now becoming much more integrated into their existing workflows. With the Microsoft Teams EHR connector, patients and providers can currently launch virtual visits from within the Epic electronic health record system patient or provider portals.

Today, we are very excited to extend our electronic health record connection to include the Cerner EHR for multi-participant virtual visits (in private preview). Patients can launch virtual visits from the patient portal or SMS, with no app download required. Healthcare providers can launch visits from Cerner PowerChart™, and system administrations can easily manage and configure the EHR integration and have access to downloadable consumption reports.

To help connect and engage healthcare workers and empower them to adapt to a dynamic healthcare market, we’re also excited to announce new waiting room, queueing, and SMS features for virtual visits. Learn more these new features and see them in action through this blog post.

Improvements to data capabilities

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare introduces capabilities built on top of the secure, compliant Microsoft Cloud that offers healthcare organizations the scale and performance needed for managing industry-specific workflows, accelerating access to data insights and unifying data governance that helps healthcare organizations manage and govern their data, wherever it resides.

During this current release, the Healthcare Data Model is now generally available to download for our partners and customers and is designed to support healthcare organizations with the ability to better model health and operational data in Microsoft Dataverse. It eases interoperability and helps unify data to enable organizations to define and customize business processes and workflows to manage clinical communications, appointments, patient encounters and care plans for care team coordination. You can read more about the recent release and updates for improving data capabilities through this blog post.

Putting patients at the center of care

The patient is at the center for many healthcare processes. Getting the full 360-degree view is essential for good quality care. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare now offers an enhanced unified patient view which allows providers to see relevant information faster through better visualizations in the patient form. Additional enhancements for care management allow a provider to leverage the patient record to learn more about their situation, conditions, or needs. One patient might be linked to multiple or groups of patients. This improved functionality in Patient Insights helps care managers associate one patient record with other patient records and easily navigate between them for faster access to meaningful patient group information.

To broaden availability of the cloud offerings beyond the United States, customers will now be able to install solutions in United Kingdom, Canada, Germany France, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Australia with solutions now being available in French, German, and Dutch.

As the next generation of patient care, frontline healthcare worker collaboration and virtual health efforts accelerate globally, unlocking the full value of an organization’s data is the new linchpin in positive patient outcomes. Explore the latest updates for Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare by joining Microsoft’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Rhew on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 12:15 PM ET at HLTH 2021 in Boston, or explore these blogs to learn how the connection between patients, care teams, and data is fundamental to delivering better experiences, insights, and care.

Explore blogs:

Three ways to support frontline workers in a hybrid world

Improving patient engagement and more in the latest Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare update


  1. Over 100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2025, Gartner, March 2021.