Microsoft's first 'vertical cloud,' the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, is now generally available

Microsoft's Cloud for Healthcare builds on Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform and is designed to deal with both structured and unstructured health data.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Announced at Build 2020 in May, the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is generally available today, October 28. The Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare bundles together Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform elements.

Microsoft officials said the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare "makes it faster and easier to provide more efficient care and helps customers support end-to-end security, compliance, and interoperability of health data." The offering works with both structured and unstructured data and provides customers with options for everything from AI health bots to conducting virtual visits. It also is designed to help patients access secure medical portals and mobile tools for interacting with health teams and their own personal health data.

The Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare also enables access to and exchange and use of electronic health records between patients, healthcare providers, and health plans. Microsoft is looking to ISV and system integrators partners to integrate with and build on top of its healthcare cloud.

Microsoft already offers individually many, if not all, of the pieces of what it will be branding as Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. It's not surprising, given the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, that Microsoft has chosen to target healthcare as its first industry-cloud vertical. Microsoft officials said earlier this year they'd be launching other vertical cloud solutions at some point but have not provided further details as to which markets might be next.

Microsoft made its initial foray into healthcare over a decade ago but ended up retrenching and selling off most of the health assets it originally acquired. A couple of years ago, Microsoft announced it was creating a new healthcare-focused research unit, Healthcare NExT.

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