Microsoft working with AXA to widen virtual healthcare reach

Microsoft is collaborating with AXA to create a digital platform the insurer says will enable a virtual healthcare system that "simplifies healthcare journeys and empowers customers with access to a fully integrated ecosystem." According to AXA, the tie-up "will be built on [our] global reach…and Microsoft's deep expertise in cloud-based computing, artificial intelligence, and array of partnerships with clinical partners and third-party vendors."

The platform, which will rely on Microsoft's Cloud for Healthcare technology portfolio, will link digital health services offered by AXA to support its customers at each stage of their e-health experience, the company said. These include a self-assessment and prevention tool, a medical concierge, a teleconsultation interface, a digital document vault, home-care services such as medicine delivery, and a directory of healthcare professionals.

Plans to expand after successful pilot

AXA added that the platform is also meant to break down "health service silos" in a bid to improve research, treatments and disease prevention. Over the long-term, the company hopes to be able to integrate third-party services, with the aim of creating "an open, global service for healthcare providers and patients, regardless of whether they are [our] customers."

A pilot programme, including a self-assessment tool, teleconsultation and a medical concierge to facilitate appointment-setting, was successfully launched late last year in Germany and Italy. The service, which is currently open to AXA customers in those two countries, will be deployed by 2022 in the UK, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland, and eventually elsewhere as well.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a deal to acquire artificial intelligence software developer Nuance Communications in an all-cash transaction valued at $19.7 billion. 

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