Microsoft health unit is a ‘multi-billion dollar business,’ medical chief says

Health, Fitness & Food

The health unit at Microsoft is a multi-billion dollar business, the company’s chief medical officer said on CNBC’s new “Beyond The Valley” podcast.

Simon Kos, who is a doctor by training, joined Microsoft in 2010, and his role is to give guidance on the U.S. company’s work in the health care industry. Microsoft has 1,100 people working in its health unit, and the business claims 168,000 customers in the industry. The software giant creates products for hospitals and other institutions within health care using its cloud products.

There of 14,000 of those partners.

“So we’ve got about 14,000 of them (partners) in health care around the world, and for us that means health at Microsoft is a multi-billion dollar organization growing faster than the market,” Kos told CNBC’s “Beyond The Valley.”

Last year, Microsoft started an initiative called Healthcare NExT which aims to apply its cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) products to the industry. One example is how Microsoft is using AI and cloud computing to help doctors scan medical imagery in order to diagnose conditions.

Tech giants from Google to Apple are focusing on health care, but innovative start-ups across the world are also spending time on the technology. One of those is Babylon Health, a U.K.-based start-up trying to us AI to help diagnose patients over a smartphone. One product it’s developing is a chatbot that let’s people describe their symptoms in order to get a diagnosis. Babylon’s CEO Ali Parsa spoke to CNBC’s “Beyond The Valley” and described his outlook for the future of medicine.

“I think that diagnostic is going to become almost free. We’re going to be able to monitor you 24/7 wherever you are as we do with your car or your washing machine, whether it’s an embeddable wearable, a digestible, whatever it is we will be able to help you to monitor yourself on increasingly more and more important aspects of your biology to your genetics,” Parsa said.

“Information in healthcare will become ubiquitous. So we will be able to take your symptoms, diagnose you, give you your health assessment, every information you almost need for free, and more … accurately than any human doctor can because the probability analysis will become stronger and stronger by machines and eventually a human brain can’t do that, in the same way you and I can’t run faster than a car,” he added.

Parsa said that everything we know about medicine “is about to melt in air.”

Both Kos and Parsa discuss the current challenges regarding the convergence of health and tech as well as the future opportunities in the “Beyond The Valley” episode titled “Your health could soon depend on artificial intelligence.”


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