On Monday, Humana and Microsoft Corp. announced a strategic partnership focused on building modern health care solutions for Humana members aimed at improving their health outcomes and making their health care experiences simpler to navigate. Using the power of Microsoft’s Azure cloud, Azure AI, and Microsoft 365 collaboration technologies, as well as interoperability standards like FHIR®,1 Humana will develop predictive solutions and intelligent automation to improve its members’ care by providing care teams with real-time access to information through a secure and trusted cloud platform.
Humana will empower doctors to deliver personalized, proactive health care 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 leverage Microsoft technologies for health care-tuned natural language understanding and speech recognition to improve administrative and clinical workflows to make health care easier for members and clinician partners.
As a first step in the seven-year partnership with Microsoft as Humana’s preferred cloud provider, Humana will modernize its technology platforms and aggregate data on Microsoft Azure, enabling a truly longitudinal view 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.
“Achieving our goal to provide better care experiences and improve our members’ health requires strong partnerships that allow us to be smarter, safer and faster in delivering care,” said Heather Cox, chief of Digital Health & Analytics at Humana. “The technologies to empower our members to get ahead of their health issues and equip doctors with information exist today. Our partnership with Microsoft gives us a secure space and modern platforms to put these technologies to work for patients and their trusted providers.”
Humana will also 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,” said Greg Moore, M.D., Ph.D., corporate vice president of Health Technology and Alliances at Microsoft. “We’re excited to combine Humana’s industry expertise with Microsoft’s Azure cloud, Azure AI and voice capabilities to remove barriers, promote health care data interoperability, and create solutions to ensure this growing population gets the right preventative, acute and long-term care for the best health outcomes.”
Beyond enhancing Humana’s technology platforms, this partnership will also address two core innovation areas. Humana will leverage Microsoft Azure and Azure AI to develop on-demand and virtual medical services. In addition, Humana will deliver a more integrated health care experience across all touchpoints 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,” said William Shrank, M.D., chief medical and corporate affairs officer at Humana. “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.”
With Azure AI, Humana will be able to instantly translate the many 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. With this technology, Humana will develop health care-specific clinical intelligence capabilities, such as equipping home health solutions with voice technologies that enable care workers to be more productive, and will allow Humana to proactively capture and address important barriers to health.
As part of the strategic partnership, the companies have committed to a multiyear research and development (R&D) investment to build new insights and advance Humana’s focus on value-based care. This investment will include direct funding, dedicated R&D teams and specific co-developed projects. The companies will also explore the building of next-generation health care experiences to transform the industry and care delivery.