Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform announced a new iteration of its Text Analytics technology for healthcare, bringing to market some of the artificial intelligence that the company previously contributed to an industry partnership to develop a COVID-19 search engine for researchers.
The new Text Analytics for health “enables health care providers, researchers, and companies to extract rich insights and relationships from unstructured medical data,” said Eric Boyd, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Azure AI, in a post Wednesday announcing the news.
Microsoft says the feature was trained on data including clinical notes, clinical trials and medical protocols, allowing users to gain insights from health data without creating custom machine learning models.
“COVID-19 has accelerated the urgency, particularly for the healthcare industry,” Boyd said. “With the overwhelming amount of healthcare data generated every year, it is increasingly critical for providers to quickly unlock access to this information to find new solutions that improve patient outcomes.”
It’s the latest in a series of initiatives from Microsoft that apply artificial intelligence to health, life sciences and biotechnology. Azure is competing against Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and other cloud platform providers to develop new AI innovations that serve specific industries.
Back in March, Microsoft teamed with organizations including Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology on the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset, or CORD-19. A related search engine can be used by researchers to discover and correlate findings related to the disease.
Separately, Microsoft today announced new AI features for use in developing voice-enabled apps, and for generating usable data out of forms.