The study, conducted by YouGov, included the input of some 1,000 business leaders and 4,000 employees. The study found that regarding the use of AI in UK healthcare industry, 46% of healthcare leaders reported their organisation used the technology in some capacity, which essentially reflected an 8% increase compared to 2018. The biggest growth areas reported were research-level AI, which grew 13% in the past 12 months, and robot process automation (RPA) and general automation both increased by 10%, while the use of voice recognition technology increased by 9%. Darren Atkins, chief technology officer at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: "AI in healthcare is an extremely exciting prospect. It's not about replacing staff, but allowing them to maximise their skills, be more efficient, spend more time with patients and, ultimately, get better outcomes."
The world has changed rapidly this year due to the pandemic and this has accelerated the need to rethink healthcare solutions in order to support the industry's fast evolving needs. Join us for this upcoming webinar as we hear from Ankita Negi, Healthcare Industry Lead, Microsoft APAC, about the opportunity to apply digital technology like Surface for Business and Microsoft 365 to make healthcare more accessible, affordable and help drive optimization. She will also discuss the digital transformation trends taking place in the healthcare industry. But don't just take our word for it. Hear from our customers, Mercy Hospice, on how they've reached patients more effectively since they began using Surface and Microsoft 365.
Today we announced the general availability of the Microsoft Healthcare Bot in the Azure Marketplace. The Microsoft Healthcare Bot is a cloud service that powers conversational AI for healthcare. It's designed to empower healthcare organizations to build and deploy compliant, AI-powered virtual health assistants and chatbots that help them put more information in the hands of their users, enable self-service, drive better outcomes, and reduce costs. The close collaboration with our preview partners, including Premera Blue Cross, Quest Diagnostics, and Advocate Aurora Heath, helped identify diverse use cases that address the needs and expectations of healthcare organizations. We now have a better understanding of what's important to our partners, and how to evolve the product by focusing on key differentiating features.
Nowadays, the healthcare sector is changing at a rapid pace. What once was a conventional industry that worked around many rounds of contact between doctor and patient almost always led to a shallow positive feeling that telemedicine has made the relationship between the doctor-patient real-time and without geographical constraints. A while back, we discussed the healthcare developments that would govern 2018, and now that we are getting ready to start a new year, it is only fitting that we look at where technology is going for the healthcare industry. Let us look at top healthcare trends for 2020 and beyond without further delay. AI is altering our view on the delivery of modern-day Healthcare.
For a number of years, it seemed like healthcare was one of the vertical markets where Microsoft planned to play. But it looks like Microsoft's current management has very different ideas about where and the extent to which Microsoft should be participating in the healthcare field. GeekWire reported over the weekend that Microsoft has sold its 50 percent stake in Caradigm (an amalgamation of "paradigm" and "care") to GE Healthcare, its partner in that venture, for an undisclosed amount. GE Healthcare took full possession of Caradigm on April 1, when it acquired Microsoft's shares, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed. After its first six months in existence, is IBM's Watson unit for the medical and life sciences industries in good health?