The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way people work and live—especially our healthcare system. Many turned to telehealth during lockdown, with the use of these apps soaring 350%, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
As a result, tech giants have been working on platforms that can benefit both healthcare providers and patients. In April, Google announced the launch of its Google Care Healthcare API, which will enable standardized information sharing between healthcare apps and Google Cloud systems. The platform, which also provides support for healthcare data standards, has been in use at the Mayo Clinic since 2019.
One month later, Microsoft launched Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, created to bring together integrated capabilities to boost patient engagement and connect health teams for better collaboration, decision-making, and operational efficiencies. The offering includes managed services such as Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and partner solutions to support healthcare organizations.
Healthcare teams can use the platform to create unique care plans for patients, setting up remote health monitoring, chatbot interactions, or telehealth visits. The system also incorporates the Bookings app for telehealth appointments, as well as the Microsoft Healthcare Bot Service. Since March, more than 1,600 instances of COVID-19 bots have gone live impacting more than 31 million people across 23 countries. Health agencies all around the world have been using the bot service to create COVID-19 self-assessment tools, reducing the impact on emergency hotlines.
"Even before the current global pandemic, the healthcare industry has been in the midst of a massive shift marked by the rise of team-based care due to increased medical specialization, exponential growth in the volume of digital patient data, and increasingly demanding data protection requirements," said Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Health Tom McGuiness and Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Health Dr. Gregory J. Moore.
After being in preview, the company recently revealed that Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare will be generally available on October 30 this year.