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HIMSS 2019 is over: Join Microsoft on the path to a reimagined healthcare future

HIMSS show floor


HIMSS 2019 has come and gone, but for the about 45,000 health and technology professionals who attended, its impact will be felt for a long time. We came to HIMSS to talk about how Microsoft for Healthcare will help the health industry enable personalized care, empower care teams, improve outcomes, and reimagine healthcare. Microsoft was everywhere at HIMSS 2019, engaging with partners, customers, and the healthcare public, hosting a wide range of forums, demonstrations, and interactive sessions.

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Ethical healthcare AI

Microsoft presented an industry panel on the ethics of AI in healthcare. Moderated by Hemant Pathak from Microsoft’s legal team, the panel also included Dr. Susannah Rose, Research Director at Cleveland Clinic, Sylvia Trujillo, Senior Washington Counsel, American Medical Association, and Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Healthcare.

More than 400 health professionals joined the panel to explore how AI innovation has the opportunity to create new care delivery models, democratize health, supplement and support the clinical work force, and transform the patient experience—realizing the need to establish a strong framework for the ethical use of AI in healthcare. The panel addressed the appropriate foundations for an ethical-AI framework, discussed how to integrate the framework with ethical principles from traditional medicine, and tackled complex issues such as whether and when decision making should be considered for humans.

Peter Lee discussed how Microsoft and other technology providers are incorporating these perspectives into design principles for AI powered healthcare solutions and services, and the impact AI is already making in healthcare.

As Peter said, “Even if we never move beyond the current state of the art, we have a decade of application and value to extract from existing AI-derived datasets. It’s remarkable how fast that state of the art has matured – and continues to – establishing itself as the new normal in healthcare and beyond.”

Microsoft Health Forum

Once again, Microsoft hosted the annual Microsoft Health Forum at HIMSS, where we showcased healthcare technology investments from Microsoft and our partners, and innovative ways that our customers are deploying these technologies to deliver better experiences, better insight, and better care.

As Peter Lee and several other leaders shared, Microsoft is investing heavily to make our cloud, services, applications, and tools speak the language of healthcare natively. Peter and team showed our progress towards making this real, and the impact this is having on improving people’s lives. Among other things, we shared:

  • Microsoft 365 for healthcare—new capabilities in Microsoft Teams healthcare teams can now communicate and collaborate in a single secure hub
  • Microsoft Healthcare Bot, available now, will enable health organizations to create AI-powered, compliant chatbots and virtual assistants to empower care providers and improve outcomes
  • Azure API for FHIR® is helping health systems interoperate, share data in the cloud, and easily connect health data to collaboration tools and other clinical systems

Addressing the barriers to interoperability in healthcare

This past summer, Microsoft and a coalition of other technology leaders including Amazon, Google, IBM, Salesforce, and Oracle took the stage at the CMS Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference, pledging to remove barriers for the adoption of technologies for healthcare interoperability, particularly those that are enabled through the cloud and AI. At HIMSS last week, Peter Lee dove into that topic again along with executives from Google and IBM, in a panel moderated by HIMSS CEO Hal Wolf. Peter shared Microsoft’s progress toward unlocking the power of health data, including our launch of the Azure API for FHIR as well as related open source tools that Microsoft has released to advance the adoption of FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), an emerging standard that sits at the center of the industry’s push for greater interoperability between health systems.

“AI is still very artisanal; it depends on the craftsmanship of highly specialized people,” said Peter. “When we see modern data standards like FHIR emerge, it’s obvious this is a part of the democratization of AI.”

New healthcare technologies

Meanwhile, back at the Microsoft booth, we spent time demonstrating several new product innovations that will empower health organizations to support care teams, advance precision healthcare, and stay focused on patient outcomes.

Kathy Minnis, Director of Product Strategy, Modern Workplace Verticals at Microsoft, helped us show hundreds of HIMSS attendees how healthcare teams use Microsoft 365 for healthcare and new capabilities in Microsoft Teams to communicate and collaborate more effectively. “Microsoft Teams for Healthcare is a great way for clinicians to share files and chat with each other in a secure and compliant environment that really empowers them to deliver the best care possible for their patients,” she noted.

We also had the opportunity to demonstrate how healthcare organizations create AI-powered, compliant chatbots with the new Microsoft Healthcare Bot, to empower care teams and improve patient care. And we demonstrated how health systems already use the Azure API for FHIR® to interoperate, share data in the cloud, and easily connect health data to collaboration tools and clinical systems.

Join our healthcare journey

One of the things that always impresses us at HIMSS is how engaged health professionals are in digitally transforming their health organizations. We were thrilled to host several hundred discussions with customers and partners and to see the depth of the transformations already underway.

HIMSS 2019 may be over, but we’re just getting started on our journey to reimagine healthcare. If this past week is an indication, we expect to see healthcare organizations accelerate their transformations through cloud-based mobility and collaboration tools, advanced technologies like AI and machine learning, interoperable data standards, and innovative delivery frameworks. Microsoft invites you to join us on a path to a new healthcare future.

Microsoft invites you to join us on a path to a new healthcare future.