Microsoft Corp. and Mercy are forging a long-term collaboration using generative AI and other digital technologies to give physicians, advance practice providers and nurses more time to care for patients and improve the patient experience. This work represents what’s next in healthcare for applying advanced digital technologies to the delivery of care to consumers.
“With the latest advances in generative AI, this moment marks a true phase change where emerging capabilities can help health care organizations address some of their most pressing challenges, create needed efficiency and transform care,” said Peter Lee, corporate vice president of research and incubations at Microsoft. “Mercy has a reputation for ongoing innovation and — through our years working together — has been a leader in the industry in creating an intelligent data platform on which to launch this kind of transformation. This is just the beginning, and it’s inspiring to see Mercy’s leadership adopting these tools to empower physicians, providers, nurses and all clinicians to improve patient care.”
Mercy plans to use Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service to improve care in several immediate new ways:
- Patients will have the information to better understand their lab results and engage in more informed discussions about their health with their provider through the help of generative AI-assisted communication. Patients will be empowered to get answers in simple, conversational language.
- Mercy will apply generative AI when taking patient calls for actions like scheduling appointments. Beyond the initial call, the AI solution will provide recommendations for additional follow-up actions to make sure all the patient’s needs are met during a single interaction, limiting the need for follow-up calls.
- A chatbot for Mercy co-workers will help quickly find important information about Mercy policies and procedures, and locate HR-related answers such as information on benefits or leave requirements. By helping nurses and co-workers find the information they need more quickly, they can spend more time on patient care.
“Because of all the investments we have made together with Microsoft in the past few years, including the use of Microsoft’s secure cloud, we are better positioned to perform real-time clinical decision-making that ultimately improves patient care,” said Joe Kelly, Mercy’s executive vice president of transformation and business development officer. “With Microsoft, we are exploring more than four dozen uses of AI and will launch multiple new AI use cases by the middle of next year to transform care and experiences for patients and co-workers. This is predictive, proactive and personalized care at its best.”
As Mercy’s preferred platform for ongoing innovation, the Microsoft Cloud provides the health system with a trusted and comprehensive platform to improve efficiency, connect and govern data, impact patient and co-worker experience, reach new communities, and build a foundation for ongoing innovation. By securely centralizing and organizing data in an AI-powered intelligent data platform built on Azure, Mercy is uniquely positioned to deliver on evolving clinician and patient expectations more quickly. For example, Mercy can tap into secure data insights to reduce many unnecessary patient days in the hospital by giving care teams smart dashboards and better visibility into the factors that impact how soon patients can return home. Additionally, Microsoft’s modern work solutions will help Mercy co-workers improve productivity and communication so they can spend more time improving patient care and experience.
“Mercy and Microsoft are creating a new path for health systems in which we are working shoulder to shoulder to combine our 200-year heritage in health care and Microsoft’s extensive expertise in cloud and AI to enhance care for the patients we serve and improve the working experience for our physicians, advanced providers, nurses and all co-workers,” said Steve Mackin, Mercy’s president and CEO. “By using technology in new and secure ways, we innovate better health care for all.”
The organizations recently brought together Mercy’s engineering teams and senior leaders with Microsoft leaders, engineers and industry experts for a hackathon to co-imagine and begin to co-innovate around the generative AI use cases in development. Additionally, Microsoft and Mercy are working together to showcase Mercy’s solutions in the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) in Chicago in 2024. The showcase will highlight transformational clinical experiences and demonstrate what the future of health care could look like using Microsoft technology.