Amidst a growing second wave of Coronovirus cases in Canada, business-leaders from all over the country descended to participate in the Microsoft Future Now virtual conference (Oct 27-Oct 28). As digital transformation becomes critical for most organizations in this unprecedented time, most business decision-makers agree today that the pandemic has proved to be a catalyst for the adoption of new technology and practices. The same is true for the Healthcare sector in Canada.

Driving this transformation for enterprises, providers, and payors in Canada is Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. At Microsoft Future Now, Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare gives trusted capabilities to Microsoft’s customers and partners to enhance patient engagement, empower health team collaboration, and improve clinical and operational insights. And more than that, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare ensures end-to-end security, compliance, and interoperability of healthcare data.

With Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, organizations can now bring patient health data to its platforms like Microsoft Teams and provide remote patient monitoring capabilities. Healthcare institutions can now also bring health data generated by remote devices into Azure API for FHIR. Azure API for FHIR helps ingest, manage, and persist protected health information in the cloud. Additionally, healthcare organizations can now look to leverage Microsoft’s AI capabilities to make sense of unstructured medical data with Text Analytics for Health. These capabilities unlock the true potential of healthcare data with Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and provide healthcare providers a detailed view of patient with insights and a means to deliver connected, personalized care.

Microsoft Future Now also showcased the true depth of virtual care solutions being deployed since the onset of the pandemic. With no other option than to adapt to the changing healthcare ecosystem during the pandemic, many providers acclimatised to a digital first strategy for COVID-19. From triaging patients virtually to limit the use of PPE to setting up virtual clinics for unscheduled visits, healthcare organizations made use of innovative solutions to bring healthcare to the patients in the time of need. One such solution adopted by Lakeridge Health included setting up a Virtual Connection program for the critically ill patients. Lakeridge Health set up iPads and screens to help connect admitted patients in their facilities with their close relatives and loved ones. Such programs not only showcased the power of virtual care and virtual services but also provided huge relief to family members of such patients.

The pandemic, in many ways has forced the healthcare sector in Canada to lay the foundation for its customers and partners to build innovative solutions, leading to better experiences and outcomes for both patients and their providers. Hopefully, such great innovations may just help inspire a new generation of virtual cloud solutions and services in Canada.