Microsoft Azure for Industry Podcast

The Current and Future States of Healthcare with Microsoft’s Leading Experts – Part 2

Episode Summary

Our Microsoft for Health panel looks forward to the future of healthcare. As healthcare responds to the current COVID-19 crisis, it is accelerating its adoption of technologies that would have taken years to implement before the current need for change.

Episode Notes

Our Microsoft for Health panel looks forward to the future of healthcare. As healthcare responds to the current COVID-19 crisis, it is accelerating its adoption of technologies that would have taken years to implement before the current need for change.

The panel discusses how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is impacting healthcare today and in the future. Hear how Microsoft's AI/ML technologies and the Azure cloud are being brought to bear to empower people to work differently.

Not only are these technologies helping the current situation, but partners are providing the next generation of medicine today. Learn how Healthcare will be forever changed by the technology solutions currently being introduced today.

Transcript

Show Notes

Microsoft’s Covid-19 Response

Supporting your healthcare organization and community during crises

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
Uses of AI for health include the work to fight COVID-19 is already underway. A handful of key partnerships include the following.

The  COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, a private-public effort spearheaded by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, for which Microsoft is providing researchers access to the world’s most powerful computing resources, which can significantly speed the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus. Around the world, Microsoft’s research scientists, spanning computer science, biology, medicine and public health, are collaborating on projects in the consortium

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a global health research organization at the University of Washington School of Medicine, is releasing a set of COVID-19 data visualizations and forecasts that the White House, FEMA, governors and hospital administrators have started using to mobilize resources

The Washington State Department of Health is working on a new dashboard that aims to increase timeliness, accuracy and speed of data reporting to the public. The dashboard relies on data reported by local health jurisdictions, healthcare facilities and labs

Folding@home, a global organization that uses distributed computing is researching COVID-19 proteins that could help with designing therapeutics

The Sepsis Center of Research Excellence (SCORE-UW), part of the University of Washington’s Department of Medicine, is a global collaboration between a network of hospitals, industry, blood banks, universities and funding partners. Using clinical data, radiologic imaging and other patient biomarker responses, SCORE-UW is developing novel algorithms to predict, and improve, healthcare and socioeconomic outcomes of COVID-19 positive patients

Take, the Brazilian leader in chatbots and the smart contacts market, developed a bot to bring official and credible information to the public and connect potential patients to medical teams to avoid overloading Brazilian hospitals

Guests

Gareth Hall

Senior Director - Microsoft WorldWide Health Solutions

Gareth leads the team driving the worldwide solutions strategy for the Microsoft Health business, focused on working with Microsoft product teams and partners to build solutions on the Microsoft cloud platforms (Azure, Dynamics 365 and Office 365).

LinkedIn

John Doyle

Director, Cloud & AI, Microsoft Healthcare

As a Director within the worldwide commercial business industry team at Microsoft, John Doyle is responsible for the development of business strategy and partnerships across the healthcare industry, globally. John, engages with industry customers and partners, developing strategies and repeatable technology solutions that harness the power of cloud and AI to drive innovation and industry transformation.

LinkedIn

David Houlding

David is the Director of Healthcare experiences on Microsoft Industry Experiences team. He has extensive experience in working with partners for healthcare in applicable technologies, most lately the cloud, blockchain, and AI.

LinkedIn
Twitter

Episode Transcription

David Starr:

Welcome to the Azure for Industry Podcast. We're your hosts David Starr and Paul Maher. In this podcast you hear from thought leaders across various industries discussing technology trends and innovation, sharing how Azure is helping transform business. You'll also hear directly from Microsoft thought leaders on how our products and services are meeting industries continually evolving needs.

David Starr:

Welcome back to our two part episode on Microsoft for healthcare. I want to re welcome our guests Gareth Hall, John Doyle, David Houlding and of course my cohost Paul Maher. Without further ado, let's get back to the discussion.

Paul Maher:

Just kind of carrying on with the dialogue. So, it's great to hear about what's been happening and how quick sort of that we've reacted to as a company and of course that just generally out there within the industry reacted to our current situation. So now let's switch to forward looking. I'm kind of curious to get your perspectives on from a Microsoft perspective but also from the industry. What does the next three, six months look like, what are you focusing on? What are you seeing as key priorities, within the industry and how we can help? And that's to the three of you. Maybe we just carry on to Gareth. Maybe you could kick things off.

Gareth Hall:

Yep. And it's a really important question and it's, the trends we're seeing, our customers are saying, "How do I connect my data sets together so that I can continue to do my day job and prepare for any of the crisis going forward? How do I continue to accelerate the concept of both virtually connected employees and virtual visits for patients and virtual care? And then how can I use analytics on top of all of my data sets to drive operational and clinical outcome and improvements for my organization?" So we're seeing the customers spending more and more time thinking about, to your point, Paul, the next steps in their evolution and recognizing that the world has changed and that we've seen more transformation in the industry in the last month or six weeks than we've seen in frankly in years. That you've got to find the positives and the silver lining in every cloud to use a pun. And we're really seeing that. We're seeing massive, massive adoption and interest in virtual health and telehealth.

Gareth Hall:

So that is a prime focus for us with both our customers and our partners. How can we help the world scale, its telehealth, not just for COVID, but for all of the other use cases where we know telehealth can absolutely drive significant both cost reductions and continue to drive great patient outcomes. So telehealth is one, helping our customers connect their data sets together using both Azure and things like the power platform and from Microsoft as a platform, and a capability to accelerate that, bringing data in using the API for fire, which lets us relatively simply and much more quickly bringing standards based data than the industries haven't been able to do before. And then democratizing the ability for our non-technical members of our customers to start to use that data for interesting things.

Gareth Hall:

Wouldn't it be great to run your own analytics to understand your own buyer practitioner readmission risk? And all of the things that healthcare has been trying to do for years and years and years, taking advantage of the fact that the world has changed and that everyone has recognized how important that data is and how important that technology can be to cope with both crises and with normal day jobs. And just really doubling down on all the core focus areas we've talked about for years and years and years, but grasping the opportunity to take that accelerator transformation and help our customers and partners deliver on that acceleration that we've seen over the last few months.

John Doyle:

Just to add on to Gareth's comments there. I think one of the things that we're starting to see now is as organizations have sort of starting to regain control, it's really understanding what the depth of that disruption has been for that customer, for that industry. And then for how long will that disruption happened for and how do they start to transition into what comes next. And then what does the shape of what comes next look like? Is it an immediate return to work for different industries and what impact does that now place back on the healthcare industry? And I like to think about this concept of wave. So we're currently dealing with wave one, the impact of COVID-19, but what do the following waves have both in terms of opportunities and issues? So, everybody is critically aware of the economic impact of COVID-19, so not just the healthcare industry, but for the global economic position around the world.

John Doyle:

How do we help drive business sustainability moving forward? And critically important to that is the healthcare industry's sustainability. And as organizations return to work, how do we help them prepare for their employees to return to work in a safe way? You know, to David's point earlier, how do we, for example, stand up thermal cameras in the reception of an office building to allow people to effectively be identified as potential risks for other people in that facility. And then how do we help them through a triage process to go back to work? And then how do we help with solutions and scenarios to Gareth's point around there are really good use cases for virtual health that are broader than what the pandemic is currently using those services for. How do we think about those and how do we help them transition into a commercial model for those services to enable them to drive that business sustainability.

John Doyle:

So I think there's a whole series of things that we could and should be doing. And it's great to see Microsoft, our partners and industries come together to solve these problems because it's a collective problem that we're trying to solve for. And I think it's really important that we do this together. We collaborate openly.

David Houlding:

Yeah. Excellent points from Gareth and John. Completely agree. And I think we all agree in general that healthcare is under huge pressure to innovate and transform. I think this was true before COVID-19 but COVID-19 is really revealing several areas where there's dire need for healthcare to improve, whether it's accelerating the provisioning of testing, vaccines, therapeutics, medical equipment including ventilators, PPEs and so forth.

David Houlding:

And so, our sort of true North is a quadruple aims, right? Reducing healthcare costs, improving patient outcomes, improving engagement and experiences of patients. We talked to, I think John, you mentioned about the healthcare chat bot, wonderful tool to engage 24/7 365, multiple language, multiple modalities, whether it's verbal, whether it's text and so forth. Many different tools that can be used. Improving the experiences of healthcare professionals I think is often mentioned last, but we need to be particularly focused on that as our healthcare professionals take on the brunt of the workload and you know, they're exposed to COVID-19 directly and the emotional toll that it takes working with these patients.

David Houlding:

So helping them to empower them and so they can do their job better, more effectively and avoid burnout should be key. And Microsoft in summary is really here to help with the platforms, tools and partnership. And it's about enablement and empowering our key healthcare partners and the healthcare industry. And there's really a few categories of healthcare partners we're particularly interested in partnering with going forward around COVID-19 and beyond. Health cloud enablement to help healthcare organizations get to a yes decision to use cloud or expand use of cloud, these are the partners that help overcome concerns around security, compliance, reliability, migration costs, et cetera.

David Houlding:

Then there's the lending of the data and the workloads in the cloud. There's a data management, so ton of data being generated out of COVID-19, how are we going to back that up and do backup and restore, archiving and storage, business continuity, disaster recovery. There's the record management systems, right? There's a tsunami of data coming in from COVID-19 and beyond managing those records in the cloud, partners that can enable that with EHR, EMRs, para systems, et cetera, particularly the interest in those kinds of healthcare partners.

David Houlding:

And last but not least, the intelligent health subcategory of health healthcare partners that we're looking to collaborate with. These are the ones that can take that data and generate using tools like AI and machine learning, generate actionable insights near real time to empower healthcare professionals to make better decisions, to again, improve the healthcare patient outcomes, reduce the healthcare costs, improve engagement and experiences of patients and healthcare professionals. So ton of opportunity for us to play a role, a key role to empower our healthcare partners and empower the healthcare industry to do more.

David Starr:

And now let's take a moment out to listen to this very important message.

Speaker 5:

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David Starr:

So David pulled out a couple of really interesting technologies like telehealth, telemedicine, patient monitoring. All of these things are new and emerging, if you will, although they've been around for a while. The technologies behind them are new and emerging. I wanted to ask a pointedly technology focused question about artificial intelligence for healthcare and what's being done with that, particularly under the context of COVID-19 but more generally even what role is AI playing for healthcare organizations?

David Houlding:

AI and machine learning, I see those as key sort of tools and the intelligent health category and they're really taking the data, the baseline data, the records, they're yielding the actionable insights which are empowering the healthcare professionals to make better decisions. And there's really two key buckets I see.

David Houlding:

One is better decisions about operations. So one thing that's really important in healthcare settings like hospitals is, is making sure they have the right level of staff, making sure they have the right level of equipment and PPEs and so forth. And AI can really play a key role in helping to predict how many staff are we going to need at a point in time? How many ventilators or are we going to need? And there's a healthcare partners solutions that do exactly that. The second category of AI and machine learning can be the whole diagnostics and maybe triage, looking at x-rays of lungs for example, being able to identify anomalies in there in the past, tumors and so forth, but COVID-19.

David Houlding:

So again, helping the healthcare professionals with insights from the AI, from the machine learning to help them identify things that they may otherwise have missed just because they're working on so many different patients. They're under such load right now. So, AI and machine learning can really be a tool to empower them.

Gareth Hall:

I'm going to jump in on a couple of words. David used that exactly right. In healthcare in particular, AI and machine learning is, is how can we use technology to assist and help clinicians that are key and critical to the care process? So is the things we can do with technology to get rid of some of the stuff they shouldn't be wasting their time doing. Can we get them to decisions quicker? It's always going to be their decision, the use cases that David talked about, talked about COVID and non COVID. It's always going to be a clinical decision at the end point. But there is so much work that technology can do to get them there more quickly and to reduce them, reduce the amount of information overload for example and simplify and get them to be able to make that decision and that clinical decision really quickly.

Gareth Hall:

So it's really important that we as a technology company, and we absolutely recognize this, recognize that our artificial intelligence, machine learning technologies are argumentative for healthcare organizations in particular and are ethical as well. And so we're very proud of the fact that at pretty much any work that Microsoft does around AI and machine learning is reviewed by a very, very rigorous ethics approach, particularly in healthcare as you might imagine, where we make sure that technologies are being used for appropriate use cases and are being used for the good of society and the good of the industry. And we stand behind that.

Gareth Hall:

And I think at times like this, it's really important that the organizations you work with have a set of values that you can trust. And again, as a healthcare guy through and through, I can stand behind Microsoft's values, ethics and approaches in the healthcare industry with confidence. And I need to do that for my job frankly, and to keep me happy in my role and I couldn't do it if I didn't trust it. And I see on the inside, we are absolutely committed to the ethical use of those technologies and the approach of making sure that they are valuable and helpful for our customers.

John Doyle:

Yeah, I would just add that from a technology perspective, artificial intelligence and machine learning has been infused into everything that we do. All the products and services that Microsoft have are effectively powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence. Even if you're using a Word or PowerPoint, you can see AI in everyday use. And I think what we're starting to see in healthcare is though, even though AI is early in the journey and a lot of customers are early in their journey, we're starting to see more and more customers look towards machine learning and artificial intelligence to effectively streamline or accelerate or empower people to do things differently. And I think that to Gareth's point that the work that we're doing to ensure that it's done responsibly ethically, we've actually also recently stood up a AI for healthcare initiative to effectively empower collaboratives around the world to develop solutions, to empower people, to improve the lives of people in communities around the world.

John Doyle:

And I think it's really important that to our earlier point that we need to do this in a very collaborative way, a very open and transparent way. But even going back to David's point, there are lots of really good solutions out there today where our partners have built specific models, specific AI engines to help our healthcare organizations. And I think at this time when everybody's concerned with responding to the crisis, I think we need to have a mechanism to bring those, those partners front and center. And David mentioned that the marketplace and the ability to search the marketplace for COVID-19 solutions and a lot of those solutions are powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Paul Maher:

Some fantastic discussion here as we kind of come to the close of the podcast. You know, as we think about sort of the, our audience, Microsoft customers and partners in all current interesting and changing times. Maybe we'll just go round with each of you, perhaps provide some closing remarks that you'd like to share with the listeners. Gareth, we'll start with you.

Gareth Hall:

Yeah, I'll jump in first. And it struck me in the middle of this thing. Think about what the world would have been like 10 or 15 years ago if we'd tried to do this without this kind of massive compute in cloud power and scale. Scaling teams up to a million or communication technology teams didn't exist at that point. But some sort of communications technology that lets clinicians talk to each other and drive virtual visits. Scaling that up to millions and millions of users in a matter of few weeks. Imagine if every single one of our customers have to go and buy servers and procure and install and run all that. Just think about the difference that we live now in a world where the cloud can scale really, really quickly.

Gareth Hall:

That makes so much sense to me as a healthcare guy and as a technology guy. I think we should recognize not only the impact cloud has had on helping the world cope with today's crisis and challenges, but also hang on, it can also help us cope with business as usual as we get back to this new normal. Let's think about not rolling everything back. Let's think about taking advantage of those paradigm shifts and helping them drive the future of health together, not just today's crisis management.

John Doyle:

Thank you Garth. And just to build on that. That the way I'd like to think about this, you sort of in a sort of closing comment perspective is that the sort of three areas that we are really focused on right now. The first is how do we help our customers navigate the now in terms of responding to the crisis and there are resources that you'll find in the description of this podcast that talk about some of the solutions and some of the partners. The secondary piece really then is to think about how do we help to think about people returning to work? How do we help organizations to plan for that come back and be prepared to manage that.

John Doyle:

And again, there'll be some additional resources for those. And then the third piece, and I think it's really important as business leaders in health, we need to think about what the future's going to look like. So how do we shape that? How do we think about that in the context of the new world of work? And Gareth and David and Paul have all talked about different areas. And I think it's really important that we start to now think about more strategically planning for those activities to enable us to drive business sustainability moving forward.

David Houlding:

Yeah, done several excellent points. And I think in closing, an incredible opportunity for partnership and collaboration to rise as to the challenge of COVID-19 and other healthcare challenges beyond. And so if you are a healthcare partner interested in collaborating with us around our firms like Azure, our tools like the healthcare bot and partnership with Microsoft, go to market partnership. Please do reach out to us. You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter. And David, maybe we can include some links in the text associated with the podcast. With that, thanks very much David, back to you.

David Starr:

You bet, we can. And we have some things already that we'll include for Microsoft for Healthcare in general. I'll ask both Gareth and John, are there any other things, are there any things that you would like specifically to call out so that people can learn more about your work? Is there a place where people can go to go to learn more about Microsoft for Healthcare?

Gareth Hall:

Yeah, it's pretty simple. microsoft.com/health we keep it nice and simple and that gives you all of the resources that we've talked about or many of the resources. And then I think as both John and Dave mentioned earlier, there is attached to this podcast, we will add in the specifics as links of the things we've talked about specifically.

John Doyle:

Yeah, and I think my last comment really would be to make a heartfelt thanks to those people that are working in the industry right now. Those first responders, nurses, doctors, care workers, support staff, those organizations that are first responders to the first responders and really all of those organizations that are coming together to effectively make a difference. So from me, and I'm sure from Microsoft and the team, we're really grateful for those people and we are here to support where we can.

Gareth Hall:

Couldn't agree more, John. Beautifully said. Absolutely. Thank you.

David Houlding:

[inaudible 00:19:02] Thank you John.

David Starr:

David, John, Gareth, thank you also very much for joining Paul and I on the episode today.

Paul Maher:

Thanks all.

John Doyle:

Thank you. Good to speak to you all.

David Starr:

Thank you to all of our guests for our first two part show. You'll find lots of links and more information in the show notes, including our guests LinkedIn profiles so you can follow them on social media. Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Azure for Industry Podcast. The show that explores how industry experts are transforming our world with Azure. For show topic recommendations or other feedback, reach out to us at industrypodcast@Microsoft.com.