Microsoft sees a future in virtual health applications

March 4, 2019

Published by Harvest ETFs

The evolution of healthcare is seeing the wider use of artificial intelligence to connect phones and computers with doctors and nurses.

These tools are redirecting the efforts of clinicians through the spreading use of online and shared applications for phones and tablets to help provide better treatment. Patients are getting better access to their records. They can connect with doctors and nurses via remote visits and can tie-in medical services to fitness and well being.

Microsoft Corp. is entering this field using its Azure cloud computing platform. While Microsoft is best known for its Office suite of business software, cloud computing is driving its growth. Cloud computing offers businesses a way to store and access information on remote servers, allowing many users in different places to share the information.

Now Microsoft is offering a way for health-care companies to move vast amounts of patient data to its cloud and connect it with other related systems, letting them talk to each other. As an example, consider someone how has just had hip surgery. These tools will allow a family doctor to see the surgical record. The doctor would coordinate and share the records with a physiotherapist. The doctor could make the records and drug treatment options available to a pharmacist. The patient would also have access to the records.

A recent Bloomberg News article noted that healthcare lags other industries in moving data to internet-based storage. While health records have gone digital, they are often stored piecemeal in different databases that can’t share information easily. This sort of potential could revolutionize patient care.

Among the companies in this sector looking into these applications are United Health Group and Anthem Insurance Co., UHC is the largest American healthcare carrier and Anthem is the largest American for-profit managed health care company in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, are looking into virtual health delivery in these areas.

Both United Health and Anthem are components of the  Harvest Healthcare Leaders Income ETF (TSX: HHL, HHL.U).  Microsoft Corp. is a component of the Harvest Tech Achievers Growth & Income ETF (TSX: HTA, HTA.U).


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