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Microsoft, Nuance, and AI’s Important Role in Healthcare

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HEALTHCARE TREND: With more healthcare data available, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will provide greater speed and insights to analyze and predict outcomes that drive change in patient and member care.

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving increased focus on healthcare consumerism as patients are taking their medical care and the associated costs into their own hands. The personalization and self-service experiences that we see in other areas of daily life are now being applied to healthcare with the help of AI.

And leading independent research firms are eyeing AI’s strong future as well. Gartner, in their panel discussion Use AI to Fight Through COVID-19 and to Recover discussed how AI can accelerate digital transformation in healthcare. Meanwhile, Forrester, in its Predications 2021: Artificial Intelligence report explores how AI will help executives “rethink the future of work; drive more efficiency, elasticity, and scale in operations; and reimagine customer and employee experiences.”

Finding Real Value in AI and Machine Learning

“AI and natural language processing (NLP) have been of great interest in the healthcare industry in the recent years,” shares Nico Frantzen, Perficient director of AI, “especially with the democratization of AI services, open-source data science platforms and framework, and the continuously growing availability of a data science workforce.” This trend follows ongoing efforts to connect healthcare’s many data silos into a consolidated modern data platform that can support the development of machine learning (ML) models.

Frantzen explains that while a lot of research still looks at helping healthcare providers with patient care (e.g., diagnosis, screening, etc.), it is still met with mixed adoption. Healthcare is instead finding real value in using AI/ML by providing more self-service options to patients and members – from virtual agents helping with inquiries or scheduling, to personalized experiences through multiple channels like IVR, web, mobile, and chat. For example, patient disease risk analysis can help promote relevant educational content or help a healthcare provider proactively reach out to patients with preventive care options.

Tech Giants + AI Solutions for Healthcare

Which brings us to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nuance, creator of advanced conversational AI and ambient solutions. The planned $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance is a huge artificial intelligence and voice recognition win for Microsoft, which reports that it will combine solutions and expertise to deliver new cloud and AI capabilities across healthcare and other industries.

David Allen, Perficient director of virtual health, said to CRN, “Nuance has gone through all of the learning curve in the health care space, and Microsoft inherits that.”

As we serve existing and new healthcare clients, “this is a health care-centric offering that becomes part of our story,” Allen explains.

As a Gold-Certified, award-winning Microsoft partner and one of just a handful of National Solution Providers, we work side-by-side with the largest healthcare payers and providers to architect, design, and implement integrated solutions that will transform their organization into a modern workplace. We are honored that we were selected as a 2020 Microsoft Health Innovation Award winner for our work with one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States. The award recognized our role in enhancing the consumer experience by building a unified digital experience and providing a seamless, personalized end-to-end experience.

Ready to transform the consumer experience with intelligent solutions? Our healthcare experts can help. Let’s talk.

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Lysa Young-Bates

Lysa, a senior marketing manager, explores the business needs, consumer expectations, and industry challenges driving digital innovation in healthcare, life sciences, and financial services.

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