Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Improving patient engagement and more in the latest Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare update

Today, as part of HLTH 2021, we are announcing the latest release of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. This update reflects our commitment to healthcare providers in enhancing patient engagement, improving data-related functionality, and further automating deployment experiences while expanding the global availability of our Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare solutions.

Our investments also include enhancements to Microsoft Teams to further bolster the patient experience while improving care team coordination. This includes a virtual Waiting Room in Microsoft Teams, now available in preview, that allows for brand and messaging tailoring alongside real-time visit notifications. It includes scheduling capabilities, allowing schedulers to securely input patient information ahead of appointments with Microsoft Forms and Bookings. Finally, services like Azure Health Bot also bolster the growing area of virtual patient, and even provider, experiences.




Microsoft Teams virtual visit 


In addition to investments centered around capabilities and data, this release reflects our continued commitment to the partner ecosystem—increasing the ease and flexibility in building offerings catering to customer needs. At the core of the healthcare ecosystem are EHR systems—which when augmented with our cloud services—helps providers evolve their digital health platforms. Utilizing the Microsoft Teams EHR connector, patients and providers can currently launch virtual visits from within the Epic electronic health record system patient or provider portals. We also are extending our electronic health record connection to include the Cerner EHR for multi-participant virtual visits (in private preview).


Details of what is included in this update are as follows.


Enhancements to patient engagement

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare keeps the patient at the center—providing a 360-degree patient view that is essential for patient engagement by healthcare providers. As part of this release, we will enable providers to see relevant patient information faster through improved visualizations in the patient form—which will also be made available as a standalone component for partners and customers. Using our low-code platform, Power Apps, healthcare providers and partners will be able to install patient views with their own end-to-end scenarios and workflows—enabling the ability to build custom low-code apps tailored to specific needs on top of an improved patient engagement experience. All these capabilities will be made available in preview by the end of the year.




Improved patient form view 


We understand that when healthcare providers use solutions, such as the Patient Service Center, links between various patient records can be very useful. In this release, we enable cross-linking across multiple records—enabling fast and easy navigation across patient data.




New patient records cross-linking capability 


Improvements to data capabilities

We have made the underlying Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare data model available for customers and partners directly through Microsoft Cloud Solution Center. This allows greater ease and flexibility in building unique solutions on top of a fully aligned and integration-ready healthcare data schema, and it was a popular request among several of our partners. Recently, we also announced the availability of Azure Healthcare APIs including for the FHIR standard. We continue to invest in important ecosystem data integration and healthcare standards capabilities.


Healthcare solutions live within a broader technology ecosystem with varying data sources. When bringing in data to support business processes—such as in the Patient Service Center—healthcare providers often need to ingest data from these other sources. However, not all data needs to be fully available and replicated. By the end of the year, we will preview a capability allowing customers to better fine tune how much data is ingested between systems—enabling savings on database space and minimizing data duplication.





Illustration of improved data ingestion capabilities (left) | Availability of standalone healthcare data model (right)  


Expanding availability and automating deployments

As part of broadening availability of the cloud offerings beyond the United States, customers will now be able to install solutions in Great Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Australia, with solutions now available in French, German, and Dutch. To ensure customers always have the latest capabilities, we are automating deployment of updates for Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare solutions built on Microsoft Power Platform, including Patient Service Center, Patient Outreach, Patient Access, Health Assistant, and the Healthcare Data Model.


As part of our deployment investments, we are aligning the messaging around our solutions between our Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare website and Microsoft Cloud Solution Center – making the experience between the two more seamless, as shown in the screenshot below.





Screenshot of Microsoft Cloud Solution Center which includes more detailed scenario descriptions with this update 


Commitment to our partners 

As we enable greater flexibility with Power Apps and the availability of a standalone Healthcare Data Model, our engineering team has been working with partners across the ecosystem to extend solutions while supporting new partner opportunities to cater to customer needs.  Some great examples of partner offerings include the following: 


Independent Software Vendors (ISVs)   

  • Innovaccer connects and processes healthcare data to create unified patient records across collaborative end-to-end care journeys. InCare, Innovaccer's care management solution, extends Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare data model and built on Dynamics 365 Customer Service, amplifies the power of EHRs by extending care beyond the four walls of the hospital. Care coordinators can stratify high-risk patients, leverage NCQA-certified care protocols to coordinate care transitions, communicate with patients via Microsoft Teams, and assign tasks to each other’s worklists. Built on the industry leading Innovaccer health cloud, InCare streamlines care management by creating a single source of truth, driving toward improved outcomes.  

  • Kyruus is a leader in provider search and scheduling for healthcare organizations, powering the patient access initiatives of 80+ leading healthcare organizations across the US. The company’s access center solution, ProviderMatch for Access Centers, embeds seamlessly into Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, enabling call center agents to easily search for in-network providers and book appointments directly into the underlying EHR. “While digital access channels are growing in prominence, access centers continue to play an integral role in the patient access experience for consumers seeking care at health systems,” said Scott Andrews, General Manager, Health Systems at Kyruus. “Bringing together two best-of-breed solutions for access centers gives health systems a one-stop shop approach to delivering more personalized patient service, improving patient-provider matching, and driving conversion of calls to booked appointments.” 

  • Redox exchanges real-time health data with 1800+ provider organizations and 350+ digital health and life science vendors. Redox has experience integrating with 85+ different EHR and HIE systemsThe Redox EHR Integration pulls data from any EHR system and maps it into Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. It brings together protected health information (PHI) data from disparate systems into a managed service, based on FHIR, to help create a longitudinal record of the patient. This data is then able to fuel patient care, clinical insights, data analytics, machine learning, and AI. “Microsoft’s Cloud for Healthcare already offers incredible value to provider organizations, digital health developers, and payers - that value is multiplied by frictionless, interoperability with EHRs. Redox’s new connector allows Azure customers to pair their secure and reliable infrastructure with Redox’s integration network and managed service to securely and compliantly bidirectionally exchange data between vendors and health systems across the country.” 


System Integrators (SIs) 

  • Accenture & Avanade have developed offers across the provider and payor spectrum to redefine patient engagement and care team collaboration (“Care 24/7”), built data-driven insights for clinical and operational effectiveness (“Health on Azure”), and a have a general assessment to help clients adopt Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.  “The past 18 months have demonstrated the need for health organizations to undergo digital transformation and to offer quality digital and virtual care experiences to their patients and members.  With Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, we can deliver solutions for clients that provide better patient and workplace experiences, better care outcomes, rich care-team collaboration and deep, data-driven insights.  We also integrate other key systems, such as EMRs, with Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and our extended solutions to create a more powerful, connected and resilient technology and experience ecosystem for our clients,” said Robert Hazelton, Global Health and Life Sciences Lead for Avanade. 


  • Avtex, a TTEC Digital Company, is focused on helping healthcare clients deliver exceptional consumer and employee experiences. To accelerate this mission, they developed two offers powered by Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare: Patient Activation for improving patient engagement and Physician Referral Management to attract and retain physicians. “Healthcare continues to evolve rapidly.  At Avtex, we are excited to leverage Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare to help healthcare organizations solve their most difficult patient and care team experience challenges.  These innovative solutions will improve patient and care team engagement increasing satisfaction, retention, revenue and ultimately outcomes,” said Mike Pietig, VP of Healthcare Experience for Avtex.  


  • EY teams are helping clients leverage Microsoft cloud capabilities across the entire spectrum of care including patients and the full set of payors and providers who serve them.  “With solutions ranging from virtual care to health analytics, we are confident change in the industry will continue to accelerate in a positive direction” - Aloha McBride, EY Global Health Leader. 


Explore these Additional Resources  

Enable the next generation of patient care with Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare  

3 ways to support frontline workers in a hybrid world - Microsoft 365 Blog 
Details and documentation on the latest Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare Dynamics 365 and Power Platfo...
Deploying the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare Data Model 

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