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SAS Health taps Microsoft for FHIR data exchange

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | April 29, 2022
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SAS Health is combining its health AI capabilities with Microsoft's Azure platform to make data exchange in the cloud faster and more secure. (Photo courtesy of SAS Health)
SAS Health is seeking to advance security for data exchange among healthcare companies by integrating its AI capabilities with Microsoft’s Azure Health Data Services platform.

SAS Health markets and develops analytic software to help users manage and derive insights for decision-making. Now, this information can be stored more securely in the cloud with Azure Health Data Services, a platform as a service (PaaS) offering that also allows for the secure transfer of data through the use of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR).

FHIR is a standard that facilitates the exchange of health information between different computer systems, which has become more essential worldwide among companies and providers. Major EHR businesses have pledged support for FHIR and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has mandated its use.

The Azure Health Data Services API model enables the transfer of FHIR data to Azure’s PaaS infrastructure. Once there, users can make FHIR-based requests for specific data to Azure Health Data Services. This not only fulfills queries in near-real time but protects patient data. It also creates the opportunity to integrate patient and claims data in real time.

"The integration between Azure Health Data Services and SAS Health can be transformational for organizations that have struggled to operationalize analytics," said Kearney. "The use of diverse health data throughout the process of care in a shared cloud environment enables a clearer path from analytics to improved healthcare outcomes."

The solution hosts transactional and analytical workloads from the same data store and uses cloud computing to develop and deliver AI applications among different healthcare entities.

For providers, this means quicker access to analytical insights within EHRs based on only information needed. As a result, patients are expected to receive better quality care and be more satisfied because providers can combine data from different silos and record types, including patient records and claim data, into a single view. Payers can also securely and more quickly request patient records to determine if services or procedures were medically necessary and whether appropriate authorization was obtained.

The combination of these technologies is expected to benefit academic health researchers, who will have access to new health insights faster with the availability of FHIR-ready data sets and will be able to look at different types of data at once. They can use these capabilities to study social determinants of health, real-world data, genetics and device data from the internet of medical things. Greater access to real-world data also provides insights to pharma and life science companies about drug safety and efficiency.

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