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Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare: Driving change, accelerating innovation

April 13, 2021

Will Perry
Principal, PwC US
Dale Prestipino
Principal, PwC US
Deepak Goyal
Principal, PwC US
Kelly Tsaur
Principal, Health Industries, PwC US

For years the healthcare industry has struggled to harness the power of data and analytics to address the persistent challenges of cost, quality, and access. Today many health organizations are tapping into the power of cloud computing to help them tackle the job. We think that Microsoft offers a robust cloud solution for the industry, and we’re teaming with them to bring its solution to PwC’s healthcare clients.

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare offers enterprise-ready, trusted capabilities for automation and integration as well as deep data analysis. These rich capabilities can enable providers, payers, and other healthcare players to generate insights and turn them into action. The platform is designed with three industry priorities in mind: enhancing patient engagement, empowering health team collaboration, and improving clinical and operational insights. We think it has the potential to make our clients more agile, innovative, and competitive.

“PwC is leveraging the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare to help deliver solutions that accelerate healthcare customers’ business transformation. Utilizing their deep industry knowledge and the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, PwC is helping customers to enhance patient engagement, enabling more efficient collaboration among healthcare teams and delivering improved clinical and operational data and insights that enable better decision making across the entire care journey."

Patty Obermaier, Vice President, U.S. Healthcare, Microsoft

The power to drive change

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare enables organizations to access, mine, and analyze a broad variety of data to generate insights that lead to productive action. The data can be clinical or non-clinical, structured or unstructured, internal or from third parties. 

Other major cloud platforms offer basic data capabilities. One feature that differentiates Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is its rich set of utilities on top of the data layer. These modular, user-friendly tools enable health organizations to quickly build custom solutions to meet their unique needs, environments, and business processes. Among the tools are a program for working in teams and a low-code tool for building custom apps that enable automation and visualization. 

Perhaps the most powerful differentiator of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is the power it gives organizations to drive needed change – to help improve business processes, deepen customer engagement, and enhance the customer experience. This ability to deliver business solutions, not just technical capabilities, makes it stand out among the competition.

The industry has talked for years about democratizing data and more recently, about the need for citizen-led innovation. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare makes this possibility real. It extends the capabilities of the overworked IT department, putting power into the hands of more employees, who can now leverage data and analytical tools to solve many problems on their own.

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare PwC Patient Experience

A range of uses

There’s a long list of potential uses for Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. A few examples highlight the range of possibilities for PwC’s client:

Improving care coordination, patient engagement, interventions, and predictive models: Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare makes it possible to integrate data across clinical systems, apps, and electronic health records to help improve patient care. It empowers health teams to collaborate by accelerating their ability to coordinate care in a secure environment and simplify complex workflow management. For instance, one of the platform tools makes it easy for patients and providers to engage in virtual visits, and to ensure that follow-up care is coordinated.

The ability to integrate data across clinical systems also informs engagement models and interventions targeted to individual patients or health plan members. Using Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, PwC can help organizations leverage digital twin technology to develop predictive models of engagement and interventions for specific patients/members.

Implementing “whole” person care model: Today there’s an increased focus on social determinants of health (SDoH) – the non-clinical factors, such as access to healthy food and adequate housing, that have an outsize impact on health outcomes. Integrating these factors is crucial to implementing a “whole person” model of care. PwC is leveraging Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare to enable organizations to integrate and analyze clinical and SDoH data, and to create a 360o view of patients’ needs. This opens the door for richer engagement and more effective interventions that improve health outcomes.

“Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare provides a secure, scalable solution which PwC is utilizing to transform care delivery. We think it’s a game changer, accelerating capability-building and innovation, and allowing organizations to work at the pace of change. That’s key to staying competitive and addressing today’s complex healthcare challenges.”

Will Perry, Partner, US Health Industries Technology Consulting Leader, PwC US

Improving operations and reimbursement: PwC’s work with clients has shown how Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare can help providers and payers to improve operations and enhance revenue. One example: We spent 12 weeks building an analytic dashboard to track the performance of providers serving specific populations. The client is considered fairly advanced in Patient-Centered Medical Home programs but didn’t have the technology and in-house talent required for this project. By implementing Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, and configuring it to integrate with EMRs or other information sources, organizations could do most of such work themselves. 

In addition to improving operations, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare could help to provide accurate reimbursement for care, as another client project illustrates. PwC recently helped the client to identify coding errors in their Medicaid patient billing system, and to help develop a solution to address the billing-related issues before the reimbursement window closed. Then we worked with the client to think through a solution based on Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare that could help them resolve this issue more quickly in the future.

Achieving payers’ key objectives: Most payers focus on common goals: increased operational efficiency to reduce cost, value-based care to boost medical effectiveness, personalized service for consumers, digitization of the customer experience, and addressing Medicare and Medicaid business. In the past, most payers couldn’t afford the technology needed to achieve these goals or didn’t have the talent to build and maintain it. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare provides the tools to enable payers to achieve these objectives. 

There are many more potential applications of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, many of which could help organizations to deliver on the promise of “better, faster, cheaper” care. PwC is excited about the potential of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and we’re actively leveraging the platform in our work with healthcare clients.

Accelerating innovation

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is more than an enabling technology platform; it’s a means to help clients transform their operations, making them more efficient and effective. The power and flexibility of the technology accelerates capability-building, innovation, and speed to market with new solutions. And it empowers organizations to approach problems in new and more effective ways. 

When employees know they can access data and analytical tools to create their own solutions, they’ll rethink how they do their work. This can change the culture of the organization for the better, making it more agile, innovative, and competitive. 

PwC’s alliance with Microsoft leverages complementary strengths: Microsoft brings a robust cloud platform for healthcare, and PwC offers the deep, industry knowledge of business transformation that can help to unlock the full power of the platform. It’s a win for both organizations, and more important, for our clients and the communities they serve.

Contact us

Ian Bonnet

Ian Bonnet

Principal, PwC US

Dhiraj  Pathak

Dhiraj Pathak

Architect & Technology Lead, PwC US

Ajay Kumar

Ajay Kumar

Director, Health Industries Advisory, PwC US

Ravi Kalakota

Ravi Kalakota

Title: Managing Director, PwC US