Microsoft unveils new generative AI products for health systems

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Dive Brief:

  • Microsoft announced several new data and artificial intelligence offerings in the healthcare sector on Tuesday, including new generative AI models intended to help ease the administrative burden of clinicians.
  • Microsoft’s cloud division Azure is releasing new capabilities aimed at freeing up information for clinicians. That includes patient timelines, which use generative AI to extract specific elements from unstructured data — such as medication information in an electronic health record — and organize them chronologically to provide a thorough review of a patient’s history. Another application, called clinical report simplification, uses generative AI to simplify clinical jargon so that patients can better understand medical information.
  • The launches are consistent with Microsoft’s ethos of developing high-impact but low-risk use cases for AI in healthcare, said David Rhew, the global chief medical officer and vice president of Microsoft health care, in an interview at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas, where the offerings were announced.

Dive Insights:

The healthcare industry is a fountain of data, and that accumulation is growing rapidly. According to World Economic Forum figures cited by Microsoft, hospitals produce 50 petabytes of data per year – equivalent to 10 billion MP3 music files – and 97% of that data is unused.

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Microsoft aims to help partners in the healthcare industry release that data and use it to improve the day-to-day operations of frontline clinicians, Rhew told Healthcare Dive.

“Health care is in a crisis. We have so many problems. I’m not sure if people understand how bad it is,” Rhew said. practice. And this is mainly driven by the fact that the amount of work they have to do, administrative work, has increased dramatically. ”

Along with patient timelines and clinical reporting simplification, Azure AI is also launching a new radiology service that uses AI to provide quality assessments and inform follow-up recommendations and recommendations. known clinically within the documentation.

Microsoft is also looking at an Azure AI Health Bot capability that gives Microsoft partners the ability to add generative AI on top of existing chatbots, to expand their capabilities to answer and answer questions. — with specific prompts and guardrails to ensure the AI ​​is only pulling information from authorized documents, Rhew said.

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Microsoft also announced Tuesday that it is tying Microsoft Fabric, an analytics platform Microsoft launched in May, with Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, the industry-specific cloud offering Microsoft unveiled three years ago . That integration should give healthcare companies the ability to view and integrate structured and unstructured data from a variety of sources, such as EHR, lab, claims and medical records. device. Customers can also train and run AI models on data using that platform.

The new fabric offerings are in preview, but early adopters include the Chicago academic medical system Northwestern Medicine and SingHealth, a network of public health institutions in Singapore.

Microsoft and tech giant Google have been very active in the healthcare AI space, signing partnerships with major health systems and EHR market giants to pilot new AI offerings. in hospital operations.

Last month, Microsoft made its generative AI-based clinical documentation product, called Nuance DAX Copilot, generally available. Atrium Health — the first system to launch the notetaker — plans to expand Copilot to 40 hospitals and 1,400 other care locations, Microsoft said Tuesday.

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Microsoft didn’t share how many doctors or systems are using Copilot, but the reaction to the overall availability has been “very positive,” according to Rhew.

Microsoft is also working with Epic to integrate GPT, the large-scale language model developed by OpenAI, into Epic EHR workflows to automatically draft responses to patient messages. That pilot went live with the first sites — at UC San Diego Health, UW Health and Stanford Health Care — in April.

Microsoft and Epic are also working to bring generative AI to Epic’s hospital database to make querying and querying the database simpler, as well as deploying many other AI use cases, such as clinical summarization medical coding notes and suggestions.

Priorities are ongoing, and Epic will announce a timeline for future releases when they’re ready, Rhew said.