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Today, Microsoft becomes the first cloud with a fully managed, first-party service to ingest, persist, and manage healthcare data in the native FHIR format. The Azure API for FHIR® is releasing today in generally availability to all Azure customers.

The core mission in healthcare is to deliver better health outcomes, and the data standard fueling the future of that mission is FHIR. The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) has revolutionized the industry in the last several years and is rapidly becoming established as the preferred standard for exchanging and managing healthcare information in electronic format.  Microsoft understands the unique value FHIR offers to enable management of Protected Health Information (PHI) in the cloud, so we’re advancing Azure technology to enable our health customers the ability to ingest, manage, and persist PHI data across the Azure environment in the native FHIR format.

With the Azure API for FHIR, a developer, researcher, device maker, or anyone working with health data—is empowered with a turnkey platform to provision a cloud-based FHIR service in just minutes and begin securely managing PHI data in Azure. We’ve simplified FHIR through this new Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) so customers can free up their operational resources and focus their development efforts on lighting up analytics, machine learning, and actionable intelligence across their health data.

Aridhia and Great Ormand Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, UK are leaders in the healthcare industry who are already leveraging FHIR in the Azure Cloud to power their Digital Research Environment (DRE), serving both historic and current patient records data: 

“We now have a unified API as a basis for designing, testing, and deploying the next generation of machine learning and digital services in the hospital for our young patients. This will also enable rapid and easier collaboration with our international pediatric hospital partners to share specialised tools to improve patient outcomes and experience,” said Professor Neil Sebire, Chief Research Information Officer at GOSH.

“Partnering with Microsoft on the Azure API for FHIR allows us to scale out and accelerate our customers’ use of SMART on FHIR. The managed service is a great additional component in the Aridhia DRE platform, bringing research and innovation closer to clinical impact,” added Rodrigo Barnes, CTO at Aridhia.

Managed FHIR service in the cloud

Normalizing health data in the FHIR format allows you to leverage the power of an open source standard that evolves with the science of healthcare. The FHIR standard is designed precisely for health data flows, so it allows for data interoperability now and sets your ecosystem up for the future as the science of medicine evolves.  Blending a variety of data sets through a FHIR service ushers in powerful opportunities for accelerated machine learning development. As you develop and implement research and efficiency models for your system, data output can be securely and easily exchanged with any application interface that works with FHIR API.

Using the Azure API for FHIR brings your team all the benefits of the cloud – paying only for what you use, delivering low latency and high performance, and providing on-demand, scalable machine learning tools with built in controls for security and intelligence.

Key features of the Azure API for FHIR include:

•    Provision and start running an enterprise-grade, managed FHIR service in just a few minutes
•    Support for R3 and R4 of the FHIR Standard
•    Role Based Access Control (RBAC) – allowing you to manage access to your data at scale
•    Audit log tracking for access, creation, modification, and reads within each data store
•    Secure compliance in the cloud: ISO 27001:2013 certified, supports HIPAA and GDPR, and built on the HITRUST-certified Azure platform
•    Global Availability and Protection of your data with multi-region failover
•    SMART on FHIR functionality

Security for PHI data in the cloud

The cloud environment you choose to manage your Protected Health Information (PHI) matters. Microsoft runs on trust.

We’ve built the Azure API for FHIR so your data is isolated and protected with layered, in-depth defense and advanced threat protection according to the most stringent industry compliance standards. Azure covers 90+ compliance offerings, including International Organization for Standardization (ISO 27001:2013), and the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  You can be confident that the Azure API for FHIR will enable persistence, security, and exchange of PHI data in a private and compliant pipeline.

  “Humana is using Microsoft’s Azure API for FHIR to enable care team access to our members’ digital health records in a universal language and that is guarded by always-on security. By providing access to members’ records, Humana can focus on supporting doctors, nurses, and clinicians and helping our members experience their best lives.” – Marc Willard, VP, Humana

“Using Azure API for FHIR allows us to focus on designing People Compatible™ solutions for healthcare organization of all sizes in this dynamic regulatory environment, with less worrying about security and scalability.” – Pawan Jindal, Founder & President, Darena Solutions

Building the foundations of artificial intelligence in healthcare

While we’re excited to light our cloud on FHIR, we’re even more excited about the foundations FHIR is forging for the future of machine learning and life sciences in healthcare.  We’re actively engaging with a broad set of customers who are pioneering new innovation with FHIR. Whether you’re improving operational efficiency across your ecosystem, need a new secure FHIR-based data store, or want to create richer datasets for research and innovation, the future of health data in the cloud is here, and it’s on FHIR.

Check out Azure API for FHIR and do more with your health data.

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