In early 2020, Frost & Sullivan recognized Microsoft as the “undisputed leader” in global Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms for the Healthcare IT (HCIT) sector on the Frost Radar™. In a field of more than 200 global industry participants, Frost & Sullivan independently plotted the top 20 companies across various parameters indicative of growth and innovation, available for consumption here.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the global AI HCIT market is on a rapid growth trajectory, with sales of AI-enabled HCIT products expected to generate more than $34.83 billion globally by 2025. Government agencies will contribute almost 50.7 percent of the revenue (including public payers), followed by hospital providers (36.3 percent) and physician practices (13 percent). Clinical AI solutions will drive 40 percent of the market revenue, with financial AI solutions contributing the same, and the remaining 20 percent coming from sales of operational AI solutions. Globally, Microsoft earned the top spot because of its industry-leading effort to incorporate next-generation AI infrastructure to drive precision medicine workflows, aid population health analytics, propel evidence-based clinical research, and expedite drug and treatment discovery.
Figure 1: The Frost Radar, "Global AI for Healthcare IT Market", 2020
We’re seeing providers deploy chatbots in their virtual portals to extend 24/7, personalized care to patients, helping them triage a larger volume of inquiries and even extend care services to previously inaccessible remote areas. With the power of predictive analytics, care teams can predict patient volumes and provide preventative care to provide timely escalations of care and prevent unnecessary readmissions. AI has provided tools for scientists at the forefront of precision medicine, accelerating drug discovery, while aiding public health officials with modeling and predicting the progression of disease. In BioPharma and MedTech, AI is being used to provide real-time insights around equipment use for manufacturing R&D departments, while also deploying field technicians to service costly equipment via predictive maintenance and enabling healthcare customers to track inventory and medication across supply chains with greater transparency and agility.
The report cites numerous recent innovations from Microsoft, including the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare offering, announced in 2020. The Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare brings together trusted and integrated capabilities for customers and partners that enrich patient engagement and connects health teams to help improve collaboration, decision-making, and operational efficiencies. It makes it faster and easier to provide more efficient care and help ensure end-to-end security, compliance, and accessibility of health data.
At Microsoft, we are focused on trust and on empowering our healthcare customers—never monetizing customer or patient data. The Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare also offers an infrastructure built on industry leading scale, with over $15 billion invested in cloud infrastructure and over 1 million physical servers across over 60 global regions. Furthermore, Microsoft has the largest partner ecosystem in the market, with global partners equipped to work with health organizations of all sizes.
Healthcare AI at Microsoft
Microsoft’s growing portfolio of healthcare AI offerings also includes specific services such as:
- The Microsoft Health Bot enables health organizations to build and deploy AI-powered, compliant conversational healthcare experiences. With built-in medical intelligence and natural language capabilities, and extensibility tools, the Health bot enables health organizations to build personalized and trusted conversational experiences across digital health portals. Customers such as Premera Blue Cross have leveraged the Microsoft Health Bot to create their own chatbot, Premera Scout, to help customers quickly obtain information on claims, benefits, and other services offered by Premera across their digital portals. In another instance, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) incorporated the Microsoft Healthcare Bot to add a COVID-19 Risk Assessment capability to their website, helping customers quickly find answers to common questions.
- Text Analytics for Health is a feature of Azure Cognitive Services that helps health organizations process and extract insights from unstructured medical data (such as; doctor’s notes, medical publications, electronic health records, clinical trial protocols, and more). This enables researchers, analysts, and medical professionals to unlock scenarios based on entities in health data, such as matching patients to clinical trials and extracting insights from large bodies of clinical literature, as was the case when the University College London (UCL) leveraged Text Analytics for health to build a system that identifies relevant research for reviews as and when they are published.
- Azure Cognitive Services offers easy-to-deploy AI tools for speech recognition, computer vision, and language understanding. Nuance, a leading provider of AI-powered clinical documentation and decision-making support for physicians, leveraged the Azure Cognitive Services platform to develop their Dragon Medical One platform, one of the leading services of Ambient Clinical Intelligence. The platform allows doctors to enter and search for relevant patient information in electronic health records, using dictation. This enables physicians to reduce time spent on administrative capabilities and redirect more time toward interacting with the patient. The platform can also mine a patient’s medical history with new reported symptoms at an appointment to provide recommendations of potential diagnoses for the doctor to consider.
Partners empowering healthcare AI
We’re also proud to see many of our healthcare partners recognized in the report, with whom we have partnered to design and build our portfolio of AI services and who, in turn, leverage our platforms to infuse AI in their solutions. These include, but are not limited to:
- Nuance is partnering with Microsoft to deliver ambient clinical intelligence (ACI), paving the way for the exam room of the future. Take a look at our partner spotlight, Microsoft and Nuance partner to deliver ambient clinical intelligence.
- GE Healthcare is developing advanced solutions for secure imaging and data exchange built on Azure.
- UnitedHealth Group joined forces with Microsoft to launch ProtectWell, a return-to-workplace app and protocol that enables employers to bring employees back to the workplace in a safer environment. The approach uses clinical and data analytics capabilities, as well as the Microsoft Healthcare Bot Service for AI-assisted COVID-19 triaging. Take a look at our partner spotlight, UnitedHealth Group and Microsoft join forces to launch ProtectWell.
- Allscripts extended their long-term strategic alliance to harness the power of Microsoft’s platform to develop Sunrise, an integrated EHR that provides a clinician-friendly, evidenced-based platform with integrated analytics for delivering better health outcomes in hospitals. Connecting all aspects of care—including; acute, surgical, pharmacy, and laboratory services, to revenue and patient administration systems.
- Philips is empowering providers through image-guided, minimally invasive therapies, bringing live imaging and other sources of data into 3D holographic environments controlled by physicians. Take a look at our partner spotlight, Microsoft HoloLens 2: Partner Spotlight with Philips.
We’re honored to have been recognized as a leader in the healthcare space and are proud to work with a growing ecosystem of partners and customers tht are building the next generation of healthcare solutions. Together, we’re extending the reach of healthcare services, unlocking new clinical insights, and empowering care teams to drive better outcomes for the communities they serve. Innovation is a journey without end, and we’re committed to building the trusted tools and platforms to help healthcare organizations be future-ready and invent with purpose.
Next steps with Microsoft AI
To learn more about Microsoft AI offerings, explore the following resources: