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Microsoft and partners transform healthcare in Canada

By Janet Kennedy, President, Microsoft Canada on February 20, 2017

Filed under Canadian Leadership Hub

Few industries in the world face more complex problems than healthcare. Uncertainties in the regulatory environment, disconnected information systems and disruptions in core business models are among the challenges that have been noted by health care organizations around the world.

As we look at some of these challenges our healthcare customers face, we ask ourselves how can technology solve some of these problems?

We believe technology – specifically the cloud, collaboration tools, artificial intelligence and mixed reality are central to healthcare transformation – a transformation that is already happening in Canada.

A great example of this is Montreal-based CAE. The company is a global leader that is revolutionizing the healthcare industry with HoloLens. They recently launched VimedixAR, an ultrasound simulator that uses HoloLens to transform the way doctors, ultrasound technicians and students visualize complex organs, like the heart and lungs. The goal with this technology is to improve patient safety and outcomes

Imagine a medical student being able to elevate a hologram of a beating heart and turn it, enlarge it, and examine it to fully grasp its anatomy.  Or that a surgeon could practice inserting a smaller, more efficient pacemaker into a holographic patient while the patient breathes and displays vital signs. Mixed reality can accelerate learning and provide shared training experiences in a more immersive and engaging clinical learning environment.  With this type of technology, CAE believes a new generation of medical professionals will be better prepared and more advanced from the start.

We are so impressed with CAE’s dedication to improving patient safety and they are just one of many innovators in the healthcare field that are using Microsoft technology to transform the healthcare industry. You can learn more about their story here.

Many hospitals, clinics and healthcare offices around the world still use fax machines as their primary source of sending referrals, booking procedures and sharing medical information between facilities. Based in Kingston Ontario, Novari Health is helping health care providers modernize that process. Built in the Microsoft Cloud and Canadian datacentres, Novari Access to Care® and Novari e-Request® is access to care technology that helps patients move more efficiently through publicly funded healthcare systems.

Once a patient reached the referral stage, Novari e-Request® helps medical professionals sort, rout and manage referrals efficiently and securely based on criteria such as specialty, location and wait times. And once a decision has been taken to proceed to surgery, Novari Access to Care® system helps determine what tests and other steps the patient will need to have done before surgery, such as blood work, x-rays, MRIs and more. Hospitals and regional departments of health can now track the surgical journey so no patient has to fall through the cracks due to a misplaced fax, all while maintaining the strictest data security with the help of Azure’s Canadian datacentres.

Novai works with roughly 35 hospitals and healthcare clients in three Canadian provinces and are currently expanding into Australia.

Other Canadian companies that are using Microsoft technology to deliver improved care to patients include Kinetisense, based in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and Hôpital Montfort based in Ottawa, Ontario. Kinetisense is helping to open lines of communication between multiple health-related disciplines across the globe by leveraging Azure and the Microsoft Cloud to provide tools for clinicians to be able to access data from clinics around the world. They can build on each other’s treatments, and ultimately help the patient. Montfort Hospital is using Power BI to help provide its physicians with the evidence to eliminate unnecessary lab tests, which can reduce the value of care by potentially exposing patients to harm.

In many ways, the healthcare industry is firmly rooted in the past. Healthcare providers are understandably risk averse and have been slow to adopt new processes, BUT we are starting to see a very exciting shift. We are even more excited to be the trusted partner to help Canadian healthcare organizations through their transformation. It is a market that is ripe for innovation and companies that can take advantage of this opportunity have the potential not only to impact the industry, but also generate tangible results for the Canadian economy as a whole. To see how other customers are doing amazing things with the Microsoft cloud check out our Customer Story website.

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