Microsoft doubles down on healthcare with formal unit, new hires
- Microsoft this week announced expansion plans into healthcare with the formation of a new unit, Microsoft Healthcare. Jim Weinstein and Joshua Mandel will join the company as VP and Chief Architect of the team, respectively.
- Microsoft Healthcare formalizes the company’s Healthcare NExT initiative, launched last year, to advance artificial intelligence and cloud-based healthcare tools.
- The new team will integrate Healthcare NExT’s research focus “with an added focus of creating strategic partnerships, and driving the cross-company strategy for healthcare and life sciences,” Peter Lee, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s AI & Research division, wrote in a blog post.
Microsoft has been playing in the healthcare waters for some time now. Since wading into the wearables market in 2014, the company has teamed up with Twist BioScience on the capabilities of DNA digital data storage, partnered with UPMC to create innovative AI-enabled care delivery products and collaborated with Cigna to leverage Microsoft’s HoloLens technology for interactive game-based health screenings.
As healthcare’s digital transformation continues, many organizations are looking to the cloud to modernize their IT infrastructures, EHRs and data analytics capabilities to foster value-based care. Microsoft Healthcare stated it will draw on the company’s AI and the cloud expertise to create products that tackle those goals.
The new unit — which will be part of AI & Research — will get help from two industry pros in Weinstein and Mandel. Weinstein, who joins Microsoft as vice president of Microsoft Healthcare and head of innovation and health equity, was previously CEO and president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock healthcare system. He will work with Lee on Microsoft’s healthcare strategy.
Mandel, who last led Alphabet life sciences division Verily’s health IT ecosystems work, will serve as chief architect of Microsoft Healthcare. As such, he “will work closely with customers, partners and the open standards community to lay the groundwork for an open cloud architecture to unlock the value of healthcare for the entire health ecosystem,” Lee said.
“We are taking concrete steps with an initial ‘blueprint’ intended to standardize the process for the compliant, privacy-preserving movement of a patient’s personal health information to the cloud and the automated tracking of its exposure to machine learning and data science, for example to support external audit,” Lee wrote