Driving Digital Transformation in Healthcare Using AI

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Tom Lawry, National Director for AI, Health & Life Sciences at Microsoft, joined me for a deep-dive into all things AI. Among other things, he shared how he helps life science companies implement innovative analytical solutions, the current barriers to enterprise-wide adoption of AI in healthcare, how to shape the use of AI in healthcare to be less “artificial” and more “intelligent,” and much more.

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:

Q: We’ve always known Microsoft for things like PowerPoint, Excel, those sorts of business operations. How do you get people’s heads around Microsoft getting into healthcare? What does it look like?

A: Well it’s a great question, and so backing up, there are a lot of things that, when you look at the evolution of technology, we not only were part of it, but we drove a lot of those things through the last several decades. Probably, the pivot point for Microsoft came with the true advent of the cloud and everyone moving in that direction for any of many, many reasons when it comes to true transformation and use of data. Then, part of that was backed up by Satya Nadella. He is no longer our new leader, but Satya coming in had a dramatic effect on shifting not only the strategy, but also the culture of the organization.

Leading up to your question of healthcare, we serve many verticals and our primary focus as a company is to develop the best, world-leading transformational technology that then gets applied across all segments, so banking, retail, finance, and healthcare. But increasingly, as we look ahead, there are certain verticals that are important to us, and none more important than health and medicine. Within that, our approach is, there are a few things that we are doing that would be considered first-party. For example, we just announced last month the intention to acquire a great company called Nuance. Nuance is leading the way when it comes to conversational AI in health and medicine. Much of that is based on some underlying technology Microsoft actually created at Microsoft Research.

We have certain instances like that, but the majority of time, when it comes to our position in healthcare, it comes not from being first-party but by working with the best vendors of all those things you imagine that are used by providers and payers, life science. Organizations like the best electronic medical record providers, the best in imaging, the best in technology for managing clinical drug research. What happens there is, we help them become more intelligent.

Going forward, the idea is, if we were to walk through a hospital in a couple of years and we were, say, “Let’s pop the hood on what’s happening with the electronic medical record, with the imaging systems, with registration.” Any of the intelligence that’s really going through those systems, when you look at what’s underneath, is really the Microsoft components of data, AI, the Microsoft cloud for health. Our job is to really take those who do the best at something and make them better by making those things more intelligent and increasingly more cloud-driven…

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Tom Lawry, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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About Impetus Digital

Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.

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