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The tech giant introduced a line of solutions designed to streamline operations and bulk out tech capabilities within provider organizations. One solution is a healthcare-specific version of Microsoft Teams — its workplace communication platform — that seeks to make it easier for clinicians to schedule and manage consultations, conduct virtual visits, and coordinate with care teams.
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Other new tools include a symptom checker embedded into its healthcare chatbot and an augmented cybersecurity solution for connected devices. These services should offer added value to potential healthcare partners looking to provide a more convenient experience for patients, fend off costly cyberattacks, and boost care coordination — a notorious dilemma within healthcare.
Microsoft’s new offerings reveal that it’s going all in on its enterprise-facing healthcare endeavors. Microsoft’s healthcare play largely hinges on the products it sells to health organizations. It’s been racing to get its cloud and AI solutions through healthcare company doors, and it counts major partners like health system Providence St. Joseph Health and pharma titan Novartis, for example.
Last April, we posited that the tech giant would dig deeper into the business-to-business realm when it scrapped its most prominent consumer offerings: It sunsetted its health records storage system HealthVault, and shelved both its Health Dashboard site and the web-connected features for its smartwatch and fitness tracker after a brief stint operating in the wearables market. Without consumer-facing elements bogging its health play down, Microsoft can likely allot more resources to honing on business-facing services and building out its portfolio of healthcare clients.
Tech firms that augment communication among care teams are helping providers offer higher-quality care and reduce medical errors — and we think they’ll see success hooking in partners. Microsoft, specifically, has zeroed in on building out its clinician communication platform.
Over the past few months, Microsoft has been embedding its Teams platform for health organizations with new features — including the ability to automatically tap into EHRs via a mobile device, per MobiHealthNews. But it isn’t the only tech company looking to streamline communication: Teams competitor Slack earned HIPAA-compliance for some of its features last year — expanding the types of sensitive info it can process and signaling interest in forging deeper into the health space, per CNBC.
Hospitals are smart to invest in tech that slashes the time and effort it takes for clinicians to converse with one another: A lack of communication during care transition produces 80% of medical errors, Frost & Sullivan estimates — which cost the US healthcare system $20 billion annually and result in an estimated 100,000 deaths per year.
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