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Humana’s new digital center in Boston, called Studio H, is one of the groups that will be using Microsoft technologies. (Humana Photo)

Microsoft has signed yet another partnership with a major healthcare organization, this time with insurance giant Humana on digital health solutions for aging populations.

The deal is an opportunity for publicly-traded Humana to steel itself against the wave of retiring baby boomers who will be demanding more and more resources from the healthcare system. The companies didn’t disclose financial details of the agreement, which gives Humana access to Microsoft’s cloud and artificial intelligence resources.

“With an estimated 10,000 people joining the Medicare system daily, we have a tremendous opportunity to address the growing demands on the health care system by improving health outcomes and lowering costs,” Dr. Greg Moore, corporate vice president of health technology and alliances at Microsoft, said in a statement. Moore led Google Cloud’s healthcare efforts before jumping over to Microsoft in April.

The two companies will be working together on a number of technologies, including:

  • On-demand telemedicine services;
  • Personalized and predictive member care powered by voice technology and AI;
  • Microsoft Teams for communicating with members;
  • Efforts to improve medical records, such as translating records in foreign languages and including social determinants of health.

“The next step for medical records is to go beyond the collection of information to the delivery of insights,” said Dr. William Shrank, chief medical and corporate affairs officer at Humana. “Microsoft technologies offer Humana the ability to apply sophisticated analytics to our members’ records and, in turn, provide clinicians and care teams with the opportunities to make a difference in patients’ health.”

Humana’s new Boston-based digital group Studio H will be among the first groups to use Microsoft’s technology, a company spokesperson told GeekWire.

The announcement comes in the same month that Microsoft partnered with Novartis on an AI-powered drug discovery effort and with Nuance Communications on an exam room that can automate medical notes based on doctor-patient conversations. The company also has healthcare partnerships with Adaptive Biotechnologies, Providence St. Joseph Health, UCLA Health and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, among others.

Microsoft also announced today that its Azure API for FHIR — which makes it possible for healthcare organizations to manage patient data in the cloud — is available to all customers. The capability was first announced in February, along with a slew of other cloud products for hospitals.

Tech rivals like Google and Amazon are joining Microsoft in the race to modernize healthcare data. Amazon has a project to mine medical records and recently launched an on-demand primary care pilot for its Seattle employees. Google also has several hospital partnerships to spot patterns in medical records and is working on a number of efforts to diagnose diseases with artificial intelligence.

Humana last week announced a $20 million investment in Accolade, a Seattle-based company that operates a technology platform to help employees navigate healthcare. Humana last year was a rumored acquisition target of Walmart.

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