I joined the Microsoft Worldwide Health team last December and I’m thrilled to be here. To be part of a company that is truly dedicated to helping people make a real impact in their health organizations and communities through technology is the perfect culmination of my 15 years in health IT.
Throughout my career, the clinical information systems I worked with were almost always built on or surrounded by Microsoft technologies and I was always impressed with the significant return on investment they provided for health organizations.
In one case, I was working with a large hospital that was using a propriety transcription database that manifested data silos and barriers to migrating information. I configured their information system to use Microsoft Word for transcription instead of the propriety transcription product. As a result of this simple step, they were able to streamline how they captured, stored and transferred data, and achieved powerful efficiency gains.
In addition to seeing firsthand how technology can impact efficiency in health organizations, I’ve seen how profoundly technology can affect people’s health and wellbeing. When I was working with radiology systems, one scenario we were always concerned with was that iodine allergy information followed the patient wherever he or she went. Say a patient is first admitted to the ER, and his or her allergy information is entered into the ER system. But then the patient is admitted to the hospital, and then transferred to radiology. If somewhere along the line, the patient’s allergy information doesn’t get transferred from the ER system to the hospital system to the radiology system, when he or she goes to get a CT and is injected with contrast dye that contains iodine, the patient could face serious consequences.
To help prevent situations like the one I just described, the team here is working incredibly hard to make sure Microsoft technology is compliant with health industry standards such as Health Level 7 (HL7) and HIPAA so that systems within and across organizations can exchange patient information securely. Moreover, Microsoft Office 365 is the only major cloud business productivity solution that addresses rigorous HIPAA regulations and offers a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) to its U.S. customers.
I’m also excited to see how Microsoft technologies are enabling real-time collaboration among care teams. With Microsoft Lync, a doctor can instantly share his or her desktop so a colleague can see where the cancer is, for example. In addition, through offerings such as our cloud services, Windows 8 and support for mobile devices, health professionals can be wherever their patients are with the latest information about them at their fingertips. Microsoft is also working hard to help health organizations and communities harness big data to improve individual and population health.