Microsoft and Epic expand AI collaboration to tackle current healthcare needs

Microsoft and Epic have announced that they are expanding their strategic initiative combining Microsoft’s large-scale cloud and artificial intelligence technologies with Epic’s electronic health record ecosystem and healthcare industry experience, with the aim of addressing current issues affecting clinicians such as workforce burnout and staffing shortages.

The development of the initiative is expected to “expand secure access to AI-powered clinical insights and administrative tools within a wide range of Epic modules”, which Microsoft sharing expectations for the move to “enhance patient care, increase operational efficiency, improve healthcare experiences, and support the financial integrity of health systems globally.”

Microsoft and Epic are said to be working together to “rapidly deploy dozens of copilot solutions”, including solutions designed to support “faster documentation with suggested text and rapid review with in-context summaries”; and reducing manual processes to drive administrative efficiencies, for example through an AI-powered solution capable of providing medical coding staff with suggestions based on clinical documentation in the EHR.

Epic will also be “delivering generative AI exploration” using Azure OpenAI Service, which is expected to support the study of rare diseases and the filling in of gaps in clinical evidence using real-world data. In addition, Microsoft and Epic will be supporting clinician productivity through embedded ambient clinical documentation by leveraging Nuance’s Dragon Ambient eXperience technology, which is being embedded into the native Epic Hyperdrive platform and Haiku mobile application.

Last week, we shared how Microsoft is also expanding its collaboration with Epic through the delivery of Microsoft Azure Large Instances, described as a “highly scalable public cloud designed to achieve the scale needed to run a large Epic electronic health record database – up to 50 million database accesses per second”.

In April, we covered Microsoft and Epic’s earlier work to integrate and develop generative AI capabilities into the Epic EHR.

In other news from Microsoft, in June we highlighted the company’s five-year deal with NHS England to provide all NHS organisations with access to Microsoft 365 productivity tools; earlier this month, we shared how Microsoft is collaborating with Google, OpenAI and Anthropic to form a new industry body focusing on ensuring the “safe and responsible” development of frontier AI models.

Looking at Epic, in the last year we have shared their plans to launch a website for health tech suppliers to self-report interoperability, and highlighted how Epic joined the Professional Records Standards Body (PRSB) supplier partnership scheme with the aim of supporting PRSB’s drive towards international standards and interoperability.