Today I attended the Microsoft Health Users Group Exchange 2010 here in Redmond, Washington. It was my first time at the two-day event, which happens twice a year and is primarily for members of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. This week’s MS-HUG - being held at Microsoft’s conference center on their Redmond campus – has the theme, “Transforming Health to Achieve Meaningful Use.”
The keynote speaker today was Dr. Bill Crounse, MD, Senior Director, Worldwide Health for Microsoft. His talk was titled “From HealthBlog to Health Tech – a Global View on Transforming Health. His focus was on how healthcare has leveraged technology to improve care and reduce costs on a global level, such as:
- Paying a doctor via Paypal (to reduce costs associated with processing payments)
- Digital management of exam rooms: Think of a map of all the rooms, where they turn different colors to indicate when a patient is present, when a room needs to be cleaned, and when a room is ready for a new patient)
- Using smart phones to consult with remote doctors (presumably specialists) in the patient treatment rooms
- The Mayo clinic’s use of HealthVault in their Health Manager web app, which lets patients with chronic health problems (migraines, diabetes, etc.) track their own health and look for patterns.This information allows healthcare providers to consult with patients even outside of regular appointments
Paul Smolke, Senior Director, Health Industry Solutions, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft (shown right) presented on cloud computing in healthcare. His focus was that Microsoft can do cloud or on-premise computing, which will help end users (hospitals, doctors, patients) comply with local laws related to the storage of medical information.
Paul noted that the option to migrate to cloud computing is particularly relevant in the case of pandemic management. If demand for access to health records spikes suddenly, the cloud offers scalability on demand – and without cost during “normal” non pandemic times.
Remember, for those who shudder at the thought of their health information being held in the cloud, that a “cloud” can be public or private.
You can follow what’s happening at Microsoft Health Users Group on Twitter using the hashtag #MSHUG.
You can download all the MS-HUG presentations here.