By Eric Althoff
SEATTLE—Tech giant Microsoft has announced that it is joining forces with hospital operator Providence St. Joseph Health on what the two companies are humbly calling the “hospital of the future,” according to CNBC.
Rather than construct an entirely new facility from the ground up, Providence St. Joseph CEO Rod Hochman said his firm will work in concert with Microsoft to adapt an existing facility near Microsoft’s headquarters. CNBC reports that the strategic partnership is aimed at improving electronic medical recordkeeping in such a way that healthcare professionals will be better able to access information and share it with one another as well.
Futuristic ideas touted include machines that will be able to process speech and also help clinicians to more quickly diagnose patient problems and speed up treatment options. Furthermore, the technological component will allow clinicians to better monitor patients after they have been discharged from the hospital setting.
Microsoft has previously tried to make inroads into the healthcare market in the previous decade, but its ventures, including a hospital software called Amalga, didn’t pan out for the company founded by Bill Gates. Microsoft elected not to pursue much else in the way of healthcare in the last decade after the problem with Amalga, but their luck may change in this new joint venture with Providence, which operates hospitals in seven states and is looking to increase its digital presence.
Microsoft’s partnership with Providence will also enable the healthcare provider to move many of its records from several data centers into a single cloud database, reported Yahoo Finance. The initial partnership is slated to last for five years.
Providence St. Joseph Health is a national nonprofit Catholic healthcare system with 120,000 employees at sites across six states, including Washington. The company saw operating revenues of $24.4 billion in 2018, according to Becker’s Hospital CFO Report.