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Microsoft in Health

Innovation in Health

Innovation in Health

Technology is dramatically improving the health and well-being of people around the world, and more and more health professionals are finding inventive uses for technology.

​Today's health organizations are seeing a rapid increase in the use of technologies in new and innovative ways. These include:

  • The use of personal devices, including smart phones and tablets, to securely connect with patients and other health professionals.
  • Easy-to-use and scalable preventive healthcare tools to support an aging population and a growing population with chronic diseases.
  • Digital solutions to supplement in-person care and address the shortage of skilled labor.
  • Communication tools that reduce costs and boost efficiency to tackle the spiraling cost of healthcare.

Telemedicine

New technologies have opened the door to more flexible and efficient communication and collaboration. For example, Microsoft Lync is used by physicians and specialists at Dallas Neurosurgical & Spine to remotely review high-fidelity images and other health data to support patients in rural areas without easy access to specialists. Baycrest Hospital in Toronto uses Lync to improve productivity and reduce costs by allowing people to communicate with mobile devices or work at home more easily.

Devices

At First Choice Home Health and Hospice of Utah employees who make home visits use Windows mobile phones to access patient information and report o,n their visits. Not only has this saved First Choice $500,000 a year, but it also has reduced hospitalization rates by 4 percent and accelerated cash flow on Medicare reimbursements by 100 percent.

Mobile devices are also being used as a cost-effective way to improve public health. In remote villages, a Windows Phone 7 application called Lifelens is being used to detect malarial parasites in blood smears. The application runs tests on the blood cells and pushes the data to servers to populate a Bing map showing outbreaks of the disease.

Natural user interfaces

Microsoft Kinect is another device with potential applications for health. During surgery, a doctor could use Kinect to swipe patient records while remaining sterile instead of asking a nurse to click through documents using a mouse. Kinect could also be used in physical therapy or to support children with autism by allowing natural movement without the use of a controller.

Personal health records

With greater access to electronic health records, people are empowered to use their own data for a healthier future. Features such as online scheduling, web messaging with a physician, online access to lab and radiology reports, and disease management tools are all part of the resources used by today’s consumers to make better choices about their care. Microsoft HealthVault provides a central repository for health information, whether it's collected at home, the doctor’s office, the pharmacy, or the gym, allowing people to maintain a comprehensive, up-to-date health record where they can view and share it as needed.

Cloud computing

Information when and where you need it. Secure and compliant data. It’s now possible to maintain the privacy of health data using cloud computing solutions. Cloud services from Microsoft include email and communications, meetings and collaboration, online health and wellness tools, application development, data and image storage and sharing, customer relationship management, and deployment and management of information and communications technology as a service.

Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Vatican City was struggling with an antiquated email system until they moved their system to the cloud. The new system is easy to use and requires little training. And by hosting the system in the cloud, they reduced email costs by 60 percent.