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Transforming Healthcare & Life Sciences: Unlocking the Power of MS Fabric

Transforming Healthcare & Life Sciences with Microsoft Fabric
Written By: Sujan Thanjavuru


Transforming Healthcare & Life Sciences: Unlocking the Power of MS Fabric

Microsoft Fabric, a Software-as-a-Service platform, tackles challenges encountered by Healthcare and Life Sciences leaders, including issues like data volume, interoperability, and regulatory compliance. With Healthcare Cloud, the platform facilitates unified data management and analytics, ultimately revolutionizing healthcare delivery and enhancing patient outcomes throughout the entire value chain.

April 8, 2024 7-Minute read

Healthcare and Life Sciences (HLS) companies find themselves at an inflection point, driven by various macro factors including anemic pipelines, intense competition, rise of personalized medicine, medication affordability, pricing pressures, and increasing cost of operations.  A vast majority of HLS companies are embracing digital transformation as a key strategic lever to address these challenges and gain competitive advantage. While data is central to AI-driven digital transformation, HLS companies face significant challenge on that front. 

The HLS Data Challenge

The healthcare industry alone generates 30% of global data volumes and is trending higher. This massive data volume challenge is compounded by other issues such as - legacy data silos, data quality, interoperability, privacy and security, and global regulatory compliance.  These data challenges directly contribute to increased total cost of ownership (TCO), lack of real-time insights, absence of a single version of truth across the organization, expensive data engineering, and limited AI opportunities.

With a well-crafted data management strategy and platform, HLS organizations can unlock the power of data and gain valuable insights to optimize new drug development, achieve operational efficiencies, and improve patient outcomes.

Here's where Microsoft Fabric and Healthcare Cloud steps in.

Fabric can be leveraged to address data and analytics challenges and drive digital transformation across the value chain. To comprehend the capabilities of Microsoft Fabric, first, let’s understand what Fabric is and what it can do.

What is Microsoft Fabric?

Microsoft Fabric is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, an all-in-one analytics solution that offers a comprehensive suite of services from ingestion to insights on a unified platform. Through a layer of abstraction and One Lake architecture, Fabric provides an integrated view of enterprise data regardless of the source or storage.  It helps users to seamlessly access enterprise data to build real-time analytics, or enables data engineers to build data pipelines without the need for extensive ETL workloads.

Microsoft Fabric's industry-specific capabilities provide a powerful framework to address challenges head-on. By customizing data solutions, organizations can unlock new opportunities, drive innovation, and achieve optimal outcomes.

Microsoft Fabric Capabilities

 Source - Microsoft

Having introduced Microsoft Fabric as an integrated suite of tools that unifies data, applications, and services across the healthcare ecosystem, let's now delve into its game-changing aspect: Healthcare Cloud, a powerful platform that can transform the healthcare journey.

What is Microsoft Healthcare Cloud? 

Microsoft Healthcare Cloud, built on Microsoft Fabric, is an industry solution designed specifically for life sciences and healthcare. It’s a unifying platform that brings together the entire healthcare ecosystem to improve clinical and operational outcomes. Within the healthcare cloud, Microsoft provides sample datasets (FHIR, SDOH), pre-defined mappings, connectors, and pipelines to help create a unified view of disparate AI-ready data. By leveraging the Healthcare Cloud, organizations can operate within a secure, compliant, and scalable environment, ensuring data privacy, promoting interoperability, and facilitating seamless collaboration.

Let’s now explore how Microsoft Fabric and the Healthcare Cloud can facilitate digital transformation across the HLS value chain.

Drug Discovery: Microsoft Fabric's ability to house data from various sources, including semantic literature searches, knowledge bases, and biomedical knowledge corpus, empowers researchers to identify lead molecules with clinical viability more efficiently. By leveraging AI solutions within Microsoft Fabric, researchers can comb through millions of data points, dramatically reducing drug discovery time.

Synthetic clinical trial data: Traditional placebo-based clinical trials, especially in case of rare and chronic diseases, can create ethical issues due to the rarity of subjects. Microsoft's Healthcare Cloud, with its built-in FHIR data model, enables the easy ingestion and storage of large amounts of patient data. This data can then be used to generate synthetic clinical trial data that mimics real patient data, without any data privacy and ethical concerns while facilitating research and analysis.

Healthcare Data Interoperability: Data interoperability presents several challenges including lack of robust longitudinal view and analysis of patient records. Pre-built mapping between FIHR and OMAP CDM makes is easy to ingest and run analytics and prediction on longitudinal patient records.

SDOH Datasets: Healthcare Cloud provides access to Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) datasets, which is crucial in improving population health outcomes. These data sets combined with other information could yield valuable insights into identifying viable clinical trial sites and subjects.

Control Towers for Resilient Supply Chains: Enterprise supply chain applications are complex structure data in a variety of formats and schemas. Control towers play a vital role in maintaining supply chain resiliency and draw insights from several enterprise applications including, ERPs, WMS, TMS, Planning and Execution systems etc.  Fabric can provide a unified view and insights across all these disparate datasets.

Customer Centricity: Customers often have various queries that require real-time responses, ranging from product shipment status to return processes. Addressing these queries necessitates gathering data from multiple systems and providing the required answers. With a unified data view from Fabric, AI can generate the required information in real-time directly to customers through a self-service portal or to customer service representatives interacting with them.

Predictive Plant Maintenance: Unplanned production downtime is very expensive and disruptive. By leveraging data streams from IoT sensors and hubs, Fabric can ingest and analyze this data in real-time to identify failure patterns. In the case of equipment failure prediction, appropriate remediations and preventive actions can be taken.

Regulatory compliance: Life sciences companies often generate periodic reports and submit them to regulatory authorities to ensure compliance. These reports require data from various applications such as Regulatory Information Management (RIM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Clinical Trial Management Systems (CTMS), Pharmacovigilance (PV), and more. Fabric offers a unified view of these disparate datasets, ready for AI to generate reports in real-time. This eliminates the need for expensive Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and data integration efforts.

By leveraging a unified SaaS platform like Microsoft Fabric, healthcare companies can unlock valuable insights across various areas, including clinical summarization, medication adherence dashboards, quality metric reporting, enabling risk predictions, and performing clinical research. Microsoft Fabric and Healthcare Cloud offer a unified SaaS platform that enables the processing of large volumes of disparate datasets, from data ingestion to generating actionable insights. This solution has the potential to become an enterprise data backbone, serving as the foundation for multiple industry use cases for business users, data engineers, data scientists, and clinical and operational teams.

Leveraging Microsoft Fabric: Real-World Story

Since 2023, Microsoft has been actively testing healthcare data solutions within Microsoft Fabric and gathering feedback from its customers. One notable organization exploring these solutions is the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. With an annual total extramural research support of $524 million and a faculty of over 2,000 full-time members, they are leveraging healthcare data solutions in Microsoft Fabric to power their Colorectal Cancer Multi-Modal Data Commons.  

By leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Fabric, the university is accelerating their efforts to unify data from various sources to create an ecosystem that enables secure, ethical, and reproducible data management and analytics. This will further drive innovative clinical and translational research for the promotion of health in Wisconsin and beyond.

Microsoft Fabric offers a powerful solution for the data challenges plaguing the healthcare industry. But implementing and harnessing its full potential requires expertise. Sonata played a pivotal role in the development of Microsoft Fabric and were honored to be its Featured and Launch Partner. Our team possesses deep industry knowledge and extensive experience in crafting customized solutions for the unique problems faced by healthcare organizations. Contact Sonata today to discuss how we can help you leverage this powerful platform to achieve your digital transformation goals.


About the Author: Sujan Thanjavuru is a thought leader with 25 years of industry and enterprise transformation expertise. He specializes in driving end-to-end digital transformation across the value chain and is a trusted advisor to our clients. He heads the Life Sciences domain practice at Sonata.