Partnership Plans to Improve Health Services for Aging Seniors

Oct 23, 2019

A seven-year infrastructure deal between Microsoft and Humana to “reimagine” health for aging populations and their care teams.

Humana health insurance and Microsoft Corp. recently announced a new partnership focused on building modern healthcare solutions for Humana members aimed at improving their health outcomes and making their healthcare experiences more accessible.

According to a press release from Microsoft, Humana will develop predictive solutions and intelligent technology to improve its members’ care by providing care teams with real-time access to information through a secure and trusted cloud platform.

Through the partnership, Humana will use services such as Microsoft's Azure cloud, Azure AI, and Microsoft 365 collaboration technologies, as well as interoperability standards like FHIR to produce solutions.

Humana will allow doctors the ability to deliver personalized, proactive healthcare by providing a holistic view of their patients, ensuring preventive care, keeping up with medication schedules and refills and offering perspective on social barriers to health, such as food insecurity, loneliness and social isolation.

In addition, Humana will use Microsoft technologies for healthcare-tuned natural language understanding and speech recognition to improve the administrative and clinical work environments to make healthcare easier for members and clinician partners.

In the first step of the seven-year partnership with Microsoft, Humana will update its technology platforms and collect data on Microsoft Azure, enabling an informative source of its members' health histories, to facilitate Humana's members and their care teams having complete health records at their fingertips when and where they need it, the release says.

Related: How to Meet the Challenge of Evolving Senior Healthcare Needs

Additionally, Humana will enable efficiencies by standardizing productivity and collaboration tools for its 41,600 employees on Microsoft 365. For example, Microsoft Teams enables healthcare professionals to use a secure hub for coordinating patient care. Humana employees can use Microsoft Teams to assist members, to centrally manage and securely share patient interaction history and files and to communicate by chat and voice with care team members and health plan administrators to improve quality of care.

"With an estimated 10,000 people joining the Medicare system daily, we have a tremendous opportunity to address the growing demands on the health care system by improving health outcomes and lowering costs," says Greg Moore, MD, PhD, corporate vice president of Health Technology and Alliances at Microsoft."

In addition to the collaboration, this partnership will address two core innovation areas. Humana will leverage Microsoft Azure and Azure AI to develop on-demand and virtual medical services. Humana will also deliver a more integrated health care experience with Azure AI and voice capabilities to personalize patient care.

"The next step for medical records is to go beyond the collection of information to the delivery of insights," says William Shrank, MD, chief medical and corporate affairs officer at Humana, in the report. "Microsoft technologies offer Humana the ability to apply sophisticated analytics to our members' records and, in turn, provide clinicians and care teams with the opportunities to make a difference in patients' health."

Through Azure AI, Humana will be able to instantly translate different languages of an individual's electronic health record and decipher nonelectronic parts, such as socio-economic determinants of health, and store them alongside the rest of the patient's information.

The healthcare organization will then be able to develop healthcare-specific clinical intelligence capabilities, such as equipping home health solutions with voice technologies that allow care workers to be more productive and will also allow Humana to proactively capture and address important barriers to health.

The companies in the partnership have committed to a multiyear research and development investment to build new insights and advance Humana's focus on value-based care. This investment will include direct funding, dedicated research, development teams and specific co-developed projects. The companies will also explore the building of next-generation healthcare experiences to transform the industry and care delivery.

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