How Microsoft Azure benefits healthcare providers

How Microsoft Azure benefits healthcare providers

Microsoft may be known for the Windows operating system and Office productivity suite that are used the world over. However, a new offering is rising in global prominence: Azure, Microsoft’s brand of cloud services.

While it serves organizations broadly, Azure has business solutions that are geared toward specific industries. Healthcare is one such industry. Here are three reasons why Azure is an incredible boon for healthcare providers:

Familiarity leads to ease of transition

Many electronic health record and clinic administration systems are already based on Microsoft software. That means shifting these in-house to the cloud entails minimal adaptation to change and negligible interruption to services, especially to critical ones.

HIPAA/HITRUST compliance

Humans lives depend on healthcare providers keeping protected health information (PHI) private yet accessible to caregivers and patients. This is why they're governed by strict regulations. Complying to these laws is very difficult because one has to keep track of changes in regulations, maintain network infrastructure daily, update software regularly, and ensure that third-party vendors they are also compliant.

Shifting to Azure means getting a big, strong hand in keeping PHI secure. This is because:

  • Azure always keeps its software and regulatory compliance measures up to date
  • Cybersecurity professionals vigilantly watch over the platform
  • Third-party auditors review Azure daily
  • Activities related to data such as access, alteration, dissemination, and deletion can be controlled by cloud administrators

Accessibility improves collaboration across caregivers

Azure is a secure platform for sharing sensitive health information. Primary care providers (PCPs) that lack resources to perform esoteric diagnostic tests can outsource such work to specialists.

To illustrate, medical technology company Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) had the technology for identifying diabetic vision damage. However, they knew that putting up clinics across America was impossible. To reach as many patients as possible, they placed their diabetic retinopathy testing solution in the cloud, where PCPs can easily and safely access it.

A trained staff member can use IRIS’s system to take an image of the retina, upload it to the cloud for processing (which includes pathology identification via Azure Machine Learning Package for Computer Vision, a tool for analyzing images the way a trained human professional would), then receive the results quickly, as if the test was done in house.

Beyond accessibility: Innovative use of data leads to predictive care

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — this still holds true even if the patient is already confined in the hospital. To put it in context, healthcare is mostly a reactive practice. If a machine that is monitoring vital signs detects a deterioration event such as cardiac arrest, it sends out an alarm so that caregivers can address the problem after it has been triggered.

Azure for health, however, is able to take real-time data and leverage machine learning to predict adverse events and notify health professionals before they happen. Patients can be treated hours in advance to avoid incidents that can permanently damage their bodies or threaten their lives.

Take advantage of the healthcare innovations that Azure has to offer. Contact our experts at Edward Technology — we can help you achieve the improved health outcomes your patients deserve.