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Microsoft pushes on with Healthcare NeXT

Healthcare NeXT is a cloud-based, artificial intelligence and research project with the aim, according to PharmaPhorum, to “develop digital tools to ‘empower people to lead healthier lives’ and transform healthcare and research.”

The first strategic research partnership for Microsoft’s Healthcare NExT initiative was with UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). This was with a view to transform clinician empowerment and productivity.

Other projects include:

HealthVault Insights: This is a machine learning-focused collaboration with Tribridge and System C and Graphnet Care Alliance, with the aim to develop tools aimed at driving adherence to provider care plans.

Microsoft Genomics: This is an Azure-powered genome analysis pipeline and collaboration with both BC Platforms and DNAnexus.

MDLIVE: A chatbot service built using Microsoft’s AI service designed to help patients self-triage before interacting with a doctor via video.

InnerEye: An artificial intelligence-powered software tool capable of creating three-dimensional versions of patient scans in minutes to aid in the planning of radiotherapy.

The latest development with the project comes with the news that Microsoft has hired a world leader in digital healthcare to take personalized health to the next level. Personalized healthcare is about developing medicines or treatments tailored for the individual patient, which is an alternative model to the mass production of generic medications.

Microsoft has taken on Iain Buchan as Director of Healthcare Research for Microsoft Research. Previously Buchan was Clinical Professor in Public Health Informatics at the University of Manchester. Quoted by Microsoft, Buchan said of his appointment: “Some of the greatest challenges in healthcare require tapping into the rhythms of daily life and health, and influencing frequent choices, for example over diet, physical activity and medication. Here, Microsoft technologies touch our lives more often than clinics, and could help us to act quickly and prevent problems before they need urgent medical attention.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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