Microsoft Helps Make Healthcare on Demand a Reality

18 February 2011 | Chris Sullivan, National Managing Director, Microsoft Health Provider Solutions

​Imagine it’s the middle of the night and a surgical resident urgently needs to consult with you, the on-call attending physician. The patient’s condition is worsening, a surgery is growing complicated, and a phone call just won’t do it. Until now, you’d have to make a frantic, late-night dash to the hospital.

But now, thanks to a pioneering collaboration between Microsoft and Sony, doctors can be virtually present at their patient’s bedside or in surgery. Many trips to the hospital or operating room can be eliminated, or the on-call attending physician can asses a patient’s condition, in real time, and determine that he/she needs to arrive stat.

The system, unveiled at this year’s 2011 Healthcare Information Management Systems Show (HIMSS) in Orlando, has the potential to revolutionize the delivery of healthcare. It combines Sony’s remote high-definition camera system – MD2GO - with Microsoft’s intuitive, gesture-controlled user interface. Together, we are turning the promise of healthcare on demand into a reality.

The wireless high-speed robotic camera system is equipped with a 10x HD lens and is mounted on a pole as small as a portable IV. And, it’s easily transported throughout the hospital, from operating room to patient bedside and back.

Sony’s camera has a one-way HD video system for the physician and two-way audio that lets the doctor clearly communicate with the patient or residents in real-time. Utilizing the touch capability of Windows 7 and the Silverlight Application Network, our team at Microsoft worked with Vectorform to build a gesture-based natural user interface that makes it easy for the doctor or other observer to remotely view diagnostic-quality images fed from the camera. The interface can run on a Windows 7 slate device, or any other browser-based device, such as a physician’s work computer or home computer - allowing them access to MD2GO cameras anyplace, anytime, anywhere. When the camera system goes on sale, hospitals and physicians will receive the Microsoft software for free.

Real-time video consultations are the next evolution in patient care and are likely to become the norm within the next decade. This kind of technology is also a useful tool for observing or supervising surgeries. Doctors can be patched in to the operating room from any location, and the image, which is real-time and in high-definition, can give a better view than you would normally get standing in a crowded operating room as you see exactly the same image as the surgeon.
This is a great example of how hospitals and physicians are getting creative with our technology to help change the way care is administered. Is your organization doing something cutting edge with technology? Tell us about it here, or come visit us at HIMSS booth #3101A.

Chris Sullivan
National Managing Director, Microsoft Health Provider Solutions