USA – Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will use Microsoft’s cloud computing services to improve the connectivity of surgeons and patients in a digital surgery ecosystem, a collaboration where big tech meets big pharma.

The agreement will be focused on expanding Johnson & Johnson Medical Device Company’s (JJMDC’s) digital surgery ecosystem through the use of Microsoft’s Cloud.

JJMDC will use Microsoft’s Azure product to create a dashboard to monitor its digital surgery ecosystem, according to Microsoft.

Furthermore, according to the Microsoft release, the platform could help personalize surgical care by utilizing AI, machine learning, and data.

J&J plans to improve patient outcomes, increase device connectivity, and accelerate digital innovation and transformation in digital surgery by leveraging the Microsoft Azure cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365.

According to the partners, Microsoft Cloud will provide JJMDC with additional resources in machine learning and data insights, improve connectivity and intelligence using Azure IoT and Edge computing technology, and accelerate the development of its digital ecosystem.

The medical technology industry is increasingly incorporating digital capabilities. According to the press release, the collaboration aims to improve surgical workflows by increasing connectivity among health stakeholders.

Collaborating with Microsoft will help take our digital approach to the next level as we create a best-in-class, unified platform across our innovative surgical technologies,” Larry Jones, group CIO and global vice president for medical devices at Johnson & Johnson, said in a statement.

It brings together our collective expertise and is an exciting step towards creating a connected patient journey across the entire care continuum, before, during and after a procedure,” Jones noted.

Microsoft has long been involved in the healthcare industry. Indeed, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare announced in August that it would be expanding its portfolio of data services for the healthcare and life sciences industries.

This comes about two years after Microsoft launched its Azure API for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) to assist health system and medical device startups in migrating their data to the cloud.

Microsoft has previously worked in the surgical field. CMR Surgical, based in the United Kingdom, announced a collaboration with Microsoft on a proof of concept data storage effort over the summer.

 J&J’s vision for an ecosystem centered on digital surgery, like that of competitors Zimmer Biomet and Medtronic, begins before procedures with planning and pre-operation. It then goes beyond surgery to include post-operation monitoring and rehabilitation.

J&J is developing the “Ottava” surgical robotic system to compete with Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci and Medtronic’s Hugo.

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