Microsoft Users Group 2011 Innovation Awards Honors Forward-thinking Health Companies Powering Patient-Centered Medical Homes, Chronic Condition Management and Mobile Consumer Health

27 April 2011 | Steve Aylward, General manager, US Health & Life Sciences Solutions & Strategy, Microsoft


Today the Microsoft Health Users Group (HUG) honors the winners of our annual MSHUG Innovation Awards. Now in its 14th year, the awards program recognizes health organizations using Microsoft-based technology to deliver better patient care, lower costs and improve efficiency and productivity.
 
Microsoft HUG is the leading health industry forum for exchanging ideas, promoting learning and sharing stories of successful use of Microsoft technologies. Microsoft HUG has grown to more than 9,000 members and 34 sponsors and growing. In fact, many Microsoft HUG members are taking part this week in the Microsoft Connected Health Conference here in Chicago, where this year’s winners also received their awards.
 
With the proliferation of health IT solutions and vendors, it is no surprise that we received many great award entries from members this year. There were several impressive technology applications and deployments to choose from, and a panel of leading industry experts evaluated contestants on several criteria. Winners were ultimately chosen based on both the extent to which their deployment or solution represents a breakthrough from the industry’s historical approaches, and whether it measurably improves business and/or clinical processes that positively impact patient care.
 
The following are the four recipients of the 2011 Microsoft HUG Innovation Award (in no particular order):
 
• To get time-sensitive clinical and scheduling information to its remote, mobile workforce, First Choice Home and Health Hospice used Allscripts Mobile Homecare Suite from Allscripts Healthcare Solutions. The application, run on the Windows Phone 7 platform, enables remote workers such as therapists or home health aides to complete care plan tasks and enter data during home visits. The application, which also leverages Microsoft SQL Server and the Microsoft .NET framework has helped automate workflows, increased compliance with care plans and decrease the time required to document and submit claims. By enabling First Choice to essentially move the patient charting process out of the office and into patients’ homes, the solution has lowered the cost of doing business, improved care and increased chart accuracy from 95% to 99.99%.
Vermont Blueprint for Health is helping primary care providers operate their practices as patient-centered medical homes. Using community care teams, the program’s aim is to improve the healthcare and prevention of common chronic conditions. These teams work across practices, offering decision support, integrated care plans, performance reporting and Health Information Exchange interoperability. To support the program, their technology system needed to: work across both paper and electronic practices; coordinate care across practices with different ERM systems; mine data from multi-payer data sources and be efficient, easy to use and secure. They turned to Covisint DocSite, a web system built on Microsoft .NET technology, which combines a portal, health exchange, analytics, warehouse and electronic health record for in-front of patient data collection and interpretation. Use of Covisint DocSite within Vermont Blueprint for Health’s program typically improved care by 25% to 50% within three to six months. In a 400-doctor physician hospital organization with 35,000 diabetic patients, for instance, the percentage of diabetics in poor control fell from 26% to 9% within four months of deployment. Additionally, there was a 15% to 30% reduction in inpatient and emergency room utilization once the program had been in place for at least a year.
MedStar Health partnered with Get Real Consulting to test web-based personal health record eHealth2go, which was geared towards minority and vulnerable diabetic patients in the Washington, DC area. The goal was to demonstrate that diabetics, even those with low levels of e-health literacy, can use PHRs to track data on medication and blood sugar levels and provide this data to their physicians as part of their overall chronic condition management efforts. MedStar and Get Real Consulting created a user-friendly portal connected to Microsoft HealthVault that allows patients to view and manage their own health information. Data from a 50 patient field test revealed that all participants, including those with low levels of computer literacy and elderly patients, successfully set up their own PHRs. Additionally, patient blood glucose levels improved after using the system, and 86% of patients who completed the trial plan to continue using the PHR in the future. • Providence Alaska Medical Center leveraged Microsoft Amalga UIS Modified Early Warning System (MEWS) to help proactively monitor early clinical signals among all inpatients to help prevent infections, escalations to intensive care and fatalities. Manual tracking processes weren’t sufficient and missed early warning signs unnecessarily. MEWS helped Providence Alaska Medical Center to immediately engage the appropriate clinician as soon as an early warning signal was flagged. In the first two months of use, the technology has increased the desired interventions by 40%, and Providence Alaska Medical Center estimates that it could save as much as $450,000 annually from unreimbursed expenses that are associated with preventable intensive care admissions.
This year, we’re also honoring a cutting-edge health plan who has taken a different spin on mobile health applications by using Windows Phone 7 to improve health in a fun and engaging way.
• OptumHealth’s OptumizeMe, its first Windows Phone 7 application, enables users to create health and fitness challenges, track their progress and compete or collaborate with others. The app is also GPS-enabled so users can locate nearby challenges and compete with others in their area. Publically available via the Windows Marketplace, the app also taps the power of Microsoft Silverlight and other Microsoft backend web services.

A big congratulations to this year’s winners. Each represent great examples of how technology is enabling health organizations to improve patient care, improve business productivity and ultimately reduce costs.
 
And, a special thanks to each of this year’s judges: Josh Fisher, Founder and Managing Partner at PresPoint Capital, Ahmad Hashem, MD, PhD, Chairman and CEO at Rawasi Investing Group, LLC, Charlene Marietti, Executive Director of Editorial Initiatives at The Vendome Group, LLC, Doris Nessim, B.Sc.Phm., R.Ph., M.A.. Healthcare, Pharmacy & Patient Safety Advisor at GS1 Canada, Benjamin Rooks, Principal at ST Advisors, LLC, Jay Srini, Chief Strategist at SCS Ventures and Adjunct Faculty Asst Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Sean Wieland, Research Analyst, Piper Jaffray and last but certainly not least, Andrew Ury, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Aucolla.
 
Does your health organization have a similar example you’d like to share with us? If so, please leave us a comment. And if you’re not yet a member of the Microsoft Health Users Group, you can join here today - it’s free and only takes a minute.
Steve Aylward
General manager, US Health & Life Sciences Solutions & Strategy, Microsoft