Johns Hopkins Medicine has struck a five-year agreement with Microsoft Corp.'s cloud computing arm, the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant said Thursday.
The new cloud deal will support Johns Hopkins inHealth, a precision medicine program at the Baltimore-based healthcare organization.
Johns Hopkins inHealth comprises 16 precision medicine centers of excellence, each focused on a specific patient population such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease or pancreatic cancer. Johns Hopkins physicians, scientists and engineers affiliated with the program draw on patient data and precision medicine research to customize care management plans for patients.
Johns Hopkins inHealth plans to include 50 centers of excellence within the next five years.
Under the agreement with Microsoft Azure, Johns Hopkins inHealth will be able to use the company's artificial-intelligence and analytics tools to analyze patient data.
Johns Hopkins Medicine, a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Health System Corp. and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will maintain control over patient data, according to the organizations. Johns Hopkins Medicine's Institutional Review Board and internal data trust council will continue to review the program's use of data.
Johns Hopkins Medicine's new contract is just the latest example of a health system partnering with a technology company for cloud services.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., in 2018 launched the St. Jude Cloud, a public database of pediatric cancer genomics data stored on Azure, which the hospital lets researchers from across the globe access. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., last year struck a 10-year contract with Google Cloud that involves data storage and innovation projects.
One of the most high-profile cloud deals to date is a partnership between St. Louis-based Ascension and Google. The agreement, which includes a contract to move Ascension's patient data to Google Cloud, drew public concern last year over patient privacy and sparked a federal probe.
On average, 39% of information technology workloads at healthcare organizations are deployed in the cloud, according to a survey conducted by HIMSS Media in 2019. Healthcare leaders and staff included in the survey said they expected that proportion to rise to about 50% of workloads, on average, over the next year.