While its Office suite and other business productivity software may be Microsoft’s best-known tools, the computer giant also makes more specialized programs for industries spanning software development to customer service. Microsoft’s most recent endeavor is modifying its cloud-based software to accommodate the needs of the healthcare industry.
A combination of many of its existing software and features, Microsoft is creating “Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare,” which will enable physicians to update and maintain data after every visit. Using the new system, a patient can begin his or her appointment via an online chat on the provider’s website. This can help healthcare providers hone in on a quicker triage process, speeding things up for both the patient and the healthcare team.
COVID-19 has changed the face of healthcare in many ways, and many physicians have opened up to the idea of virtual office visits for regularly scheduled appointments, follow-ups, and certain types of mental health screenings. The need for people to minimize face-to-face interactions has created a high demand for healthcare software that can keep patient data secure, and operate under a high level of use.
Microsoft hopes the system will help empower patients by increasing their engagement with their own healthcare, and allowing for more collaboration between doctor, patient, and pharmacy. Patients can also access their personal portals where they can schedule appointments, pay bills, and request records without having to pick up the phone. The platform has video, voice, recording, and transcription features to make advice and treatment plans easier to remember.
“As we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians also need greater flexibility and convenience in how they are able to connect with patients. Today we are announcing general availability of the Bookings app in Teams, which enables healthcare providers to schedule, manage, and conduct provider-to-patient virtual visits within Teams,” a representative from Microsoft stated.
Part of Microsoft’s healthcare system rollout plan is to offer a 6-month free trial, during which doctors and patients can become more comfortable with the platform before deciding whether or not the system suits their clinic’s needs. Microsoft says they are also working on similar systems for other industries that would help facilitate remote working, but they did not specify which sectors would be included.