Dec 05 2017
Patient-Centered Care

Microsoft, UPMC Partner to Build 3 Tech-Focused Hospitals

Heart, vision and cancer care will all get a digital touch at these innovative hospitals.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Microsoft have launched an initiative to build three specialty hospitals with a digital focus.

UPMC will invest $2 billion to add three tech-based hospitals to its healthcare system in Pittsburgh, including the UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital, UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital and UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital.

The hospitals will call on technology to introduce more personalized care to patients.

“At core, these digitally based specialty hospitals are the expression of our cutting-edge translational science creating treatments and cures for the most devastating diseases,” Jeffrey A. Romoff, president and chief executive officer at UPMC, said in a statement. He specifically called out cancer, heart disease, transplantation, diseases of aging, vision restoration and rehabilitation.

Microsoft will be a creative force in developing the digital hospitals, collaborating with UPMC providers and developers and leveraging its digital tools.

“Building on our existing research collaboration with Microsoft and its Azure cloud platform, we will apply technology in ways that will transform what today is often a disjointed and needlessly complex experience for patients and clinicians,” said Romoff, adding that the partners would have more to share in coming months.

The UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital is expected to open in 2020, while the UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital has an expected opening date of 2022. No date has been given for the UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital.

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Collaborating on Technology’s Place in Better Patient Care

The announcement came after Microsoft and UPMC announced a partnership earlier this year to develop innovations that empower both clinicians and patients. UPMC is working with Microsoft’s New Experiences and Technologies (NExT) organization as part of the initiative to use digital tools to make healthcare more patient- and provider-friendly by connecting systems and improving communication.

Other initiatives within NExT include: HealthVault Insights, its project to encourage patient engagement; Microsoft Genomics; Microsoft’s AI health chatbot technology, and project InnerEye, a “research-based, AI-powered software tool for radiotherapy planning,” according to a Microsoft blog post.

Ultimately, Microsoft’s cloud, artificial intelligence and other digital tools will look to give care organizations an edge when it comes to patient care and provider experience.

“Despite UPMC’s efforts to stay on the leading edge of technology, too often our clinicians and patients feel as though they’re serving the technology rather than the other way around,” said Dr. Steven D. Shapiro, chief medical and scientific officer of UPMC, in the initial announcement. “With Microsoft, we have a shared vision of empowering clinicians by reducing the burden of electronic ‘paperwork’ and allowing the doctor to focus on the sacred doctor-patient relationship.”

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