Disconnected medical records are everywhere. In the imaging segment in particular, the growth in the number of devices, data size, and the type of data captured is breaking traditional systems for managing data in the field. Many companies rely on the cloud to be scalable, but the smart ones are choosing a purpose-built healthcare technology that goes beyond simply moving data to a lake for storage or consolidation. Imaging industry leaders like ZEISS focus on innovations specifically designed for healthcare and opt for cloud technology that enables interoperability to connect and share data in the cloud through open standards to enable scalability for the future of AI.

As one of the world’s largest providers of devices and software for ophthalmology, ZEISS manages one of the world’s largest providers of imaging devices. Dominated by thousands of boutique clinics, data in ophthalmology is isolated, non-transferrable, and often captured in such small amounts that at first glance it appears practically useless for AI and machine learning. When ZEISS introduced the cloud, however, they were looking for a system that would enable them not only to bring DICOM data to the cloud, but also to make it easier to use this data to gain insights for predictive and preventive care. In doing so, they found that focusing on data interoperability in the cloud is now opening the door to improving patient outcomes and exploring new treatment modalities.

Unlock integrated medical data with Azure Healthcare APIs and AI

ZEISS has teamed up with Microsoft to integrate the ZEISS Medical Ecosystem with the Azure Healthcare APIs. ZEISS Meditec cooperates with Digital innovation from ZEISS as an implementation partner for the data platform and several ecosystem applications. ZEISS Digital Innovation is a provider of customer-specific software development services that implements and operates innovative digital health solutions for the ZEISS Group and customers outside of ZEISS.

Azure Healthcare APIs enable standardization and exchange of data between devices around the world while leveraging Microsoft’s geo-support for data residency requirements. The Healthcare APIs are a platform-as-a-service solution, the capabilities of which for ZEISS require little implementation effort and can be used out-of-the-box. Clinical data that are created during patient registrations, planning, visits and operations are no longer isolated on individual devices or consolidated in a separate database, but can be connected to other systems, data sets and applications that optimize workflows for clinical planning and training and optimize clinical procedures.

“This fully networked platform will further expand our integrated workflow solutions, create added value for the customer and open up new ways to maximize clinical efficiency and performance.” said Euan S. Thomson, Ph.D., President of Ophthalmic Devices and Head of the Digital Business Unit at Carl Zeiss Meditec. “The power of digital technologies, data management, and a host of new applications will create an environment of connectivity, automation, artificial intelligence, and secure and efficient data management that enables better outcomes for patients. I firmly believe that the digital ecosystem will provide opportunities to improve healthcare efficiency and ultimately the quality of life for our customers’ patients. “

Improve clinical workflows and patient experiences

With the DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) service in the Azure Healthcare APIs, the data begins its way from the clinic to the cloud. Almost every medical product speaks DICOM, including the ophthalmology devices used by ZEISS customers. With an expandable connectivity solution based on Azure IoT Edge, data and legacy devices can be quickly integrated, which facilitates acceptance and the flow of data in the cloud. Historical measurement data from on-premise PACS solutions and other clinical systems can also be connected. ZEISS uses FHIR® (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) for structured data exchange, which enables an easy-to-use interface for its own applications and interoperability with third-party systems such as electronic medical records.

In terms of scaling AI, ZEISS is ready to rapidly develop new solutions. With the help of applications and software tools with artificial intelligence, data can be seamlessly transferred from one ZEISS device to another. AI will enable digital recommendations and improve the decision-making process with image analysis. Vendors using ZEISS technology want to support widespread screening programs and ophthalmic exams to enable early diagnosis, improved disease progression tracking, and reduced need for clinical procedures through remote patient monitoring.

The ultimate goal is to allow patients to have more frequent imaging and even extend data collection to home imaging. This helps providers unobtrusively obtain more data about their patients, enables differentiated analysis and ultimately personalization for the patient care pathway.

Additional resources

Learn more about Azure Healthcare APIs and the Microsoft cloud for healthcare.


®FHIR is a registered trademark of Health Level Seven International, registered with the US Trademark Office and is used with permission.

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