Over the last year, it won't have escaped anyone's notice really that there have been massive and unprecedented changes to the health of the world, and by extension, how healthcare is delivered.

From mobile applications, like the COVID-19 app in England, to using augmented reality to ramp up the production of ventilators (a project I was lucky enough to help with!), some changes have been radical, and we won't go back to the way things were before.

New technologies releasing at speed

Building on this, new technologies continue to be released at pace. Semantic Search was one technology launched in March 2021, allowing users to ask questions of a Cognitive Search index, and receive an answer – you can imagine how this could allow people to self-solve for basic healthcare needs like nutrition, and fitness.

Launch of Text Analytics for Health

Well, at Microsoft Build today, another awesome service has been launched to add to the set! Text Analytics for health allows developers to pull out healthcare related insights and named entities, from unstructured text, like medical records or journals.

In Microsoft’s example, they use this to link medication, diagnoses, and treatments together – helping to rapidly understand links in medical notes and research information.

Image copyright Microsoft Inc. Displays correlations and meaningful links.

More broadly, this can be used to analyse data at scale – for example, ingesting the latest pre-print medical journals to identify impactful treatments, monitoring social media to look for the spread of flu or colds through symptom mention, and improving all of the many virtual agents and chatbots that are propagating into the healthcare system! (Incidentally, Microsoft also launched a new visual WYSIWYG editor for chatbots in the Azure Bot Service…!)

Image copyright Microsoft Inc. Displays medical assertions.

I'm hopeful and excited that we'll see a real uptake of this service, to improve how healthcare is delivered and evolves for everyone.

How to use Text Analytics for health - Azure Cognitive Services
Learn how to extract and label medical information from unstructured clinical text with Text Analytics for health.