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Johnson & Johnson Taps Microsoft's Cloud for 'Digital Surgery Platform'

Microsoft is bringing the myriad capabilities of its cloud, from artificial intelligence to analytics, to a subsidiary of medical device and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

Specifically, the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies (JJDMC) has tapped Microsoft to be its preferred cloud provider as part of a multiyear partnership announced by the two companies this week. JJDMC is the arm of Johnson & Johnson that's focused on developing software and hardware solutions (for example, surgical robots) to improve patient care.

Under the partnership with Microsoft, JJDMC will create a platform to connect and manage a wide array of Internet of Things (IoT) medical devices, process data from patient and hospital records, and monitor its entire "digital surgery ecosystem" from a single dashboard.

Microsoft technologies involved include Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, AI, machine learning and more. According to Microsoft's announcement, "there are also plans to use the Azure Digital Twin platform to create digital representations of medical devices for remote monitoring and predictive maintenance." Azure Digital Twins is used to model a physical environment in software.

The partnership's aims, according to the JJDMC's own press release, are threefold:

  • Innovating to improve patient outcomes through artificial intelligence, machine learning and data insights. 
  • Increasing JJMDC device connectivity, insights and intelligence using Azure IoT and Edge Computing technologies.
  • Increasing the pace of digital innovation and transformation across the JJMDC digital surgery ecosystem using Azure capabilities and services.

"The new platform will allow providers across the health care spectrum, from surgeons to physical therapists and care managers, to access the same patient information in one place, enabling a comprehensive patient view and reducing the time needed to read medical charts and records," Microsoft said in its announcement.

Additionally, Azure's AI, machine learning and data analytics capabilities can help doctors create surgery and treatment plans that are more suited to an individual patient's needs. They can also be useful at identifying patients who are predisposed to particular diseases or are at high risk of developing complications from certain procedures.

"Combining the power of cloud computing with AI and machine learning can create a more holistic and connected health care journey, with the ultimate goal of improving patients' lives," said Tom McGuinness, corporate vice president of global health care and life sciences at Microsoft.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editor of Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and AWSInsider.net, and the editorial director of Converge360.

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