Microsoft, Cleveland Clinic and Providence join coalition to innovate AI in healthcare

With healthcare increasingly placing bets on artificial intelligence, Microsoft has formed a coalition with some of the nation’s top health and life sciences organizations to build and track new AI innovations.

The Artificial Intelligence Industry Innovation Coalition (AI3C) unites nine other big names alongside Microsoft: the Brookings Institution, Cleveland Clinic, Duke Health, Intermountain Healthcare, Novant Health, Plug and Play, Providence, the University of California, San Diego and the University of Virginia.

Senior executives from each organization on the AI3C board will help co-create new AI tools and follow AI use in the industry, aiming to address the business and socioeconomic barriers that block widespread adoption of the technologies.

“Meeting the urgent need for new health technologies requires diverse partners coming together across sectors,” said Ashley Llorens, vice president and managing director of Microsoft’s research and incubations divisions, in a statement. “With perspectives from AI practitioners, healthcare professionals and the research community, the AI3C can guide collaborative projects that accelerate the translation of frontier technologies from research to solution development to implementation.”

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The board will offer recommendations and education on the responsible use of AI as well as on how AI technologies can be leveraged to advance health equity and workforce transformation.

The coalition plans to connect the healthcare industry with white papers and social media outreach along with the tools they develop.

Members will also host quarterly meetings and events to share their progress.

More information about the coalition will be released “later this year,” according to the release.

“We believe this coalition will create the suitable space for AI healthcare leaders to have the necessary dialogue to advance AI-enabled care process models across settings of care for our patients and communities. By coming together, we can help influence the delivery science to help translate technical capability and best practice into clinical and operational impact,” said Greg Nelson, area vice president for analytics services at Intermountain Healthcare.

RELATED: Healthcare execs trust AI to automate administrative processes, advance health equity: Optum

The partnership follows the creation of the National Coalition for Artificial Intelligence in Financial Services, launched by Microsoft in December 2020.

Microsoft also rolled out a five-year program called AI for Health in January 2020, dedicating $40 million to support collaborations in using artificial intelligence for medical research and discoveries.

That program is part of the tech giant’s $165 million AI for Good initiative, which addresses concerns like climate change along with humanitarian and accessibility issues.

Most healthcare executives have adopted or plan to adopt AI strategies, according to a December survey by Optum.

Those executives said they trust AI to support key efforts in the organizations, from administrative processes to health equity pushes.

Nearly all the leaders surveyed said they have a greater duty than in other industries to ensure the technologies are used responsibly, underscoring the need for education around the development and adoption of AI tools.