Is healthcare following the example of the automotive industry?

20 January 2014 | Hemang Patel, Senior Bus Dev Manager, US Health and Life Sciences

Cars have definitely come a long way. Many vehicles that we own today have simple dashboards to view temperature, tire pressure, fuel level, and other features. But what if you could have an intelligent vehicle that by itself could also monitor, for example, the consistency of oil, transmission fluid level, the amount of wear on brake pads, and engine cleanliness based on the type of fuel being used.  At night, as you’re sleeping, the car could push a comprehensive report to the cloud, and with the car’s built in intelligence it would do elaborate checks to provide you with a detailed report in the morning. All the items mentioned here are becoming mainstream. Automakers are bringing together information that was once siloed so that owners can maintain the health of their vehicles to keep them out of the shop and reduce expensive repairs. Sound familiar?

In healthcare, we are seeing examples of how companies are helping to extend and externalize clinical systems that were once siloed to improve patient care and help keep them from returning to the hospital. There is now an incredible array of visual devices to interface with this data in a more intelligent way and many innovative ways for clinicians to connect to the healthcare fabric. Microsoft has more touchpoints than any company in the world — in the clinic and in the home — through more than 2,000 Windows 8.1 certified devices including 7” tablets, Surface to large screen Perceptive Pixel devices and with set-top boxes, and gaming with XBOX. Healthcare’s conventional in-facility capabilities are being extended out, enabling consolidated views of patients’ healthcare information, and offering alerts and vitals for a broad view of clinical indicators to better manage critical patients. In the future, the technology will also provide detailed monitoring capabilities to patients in the home to help them better manage their own care.  

Microsoft is working with various partners to achieve this vision. One such company is AirStrip, which provides a complete, enterprise wide clinical mobility solution that is vendor-agnostic and data source-agnostic. AirStrip partnered with Microsoft recently to release a Windows 8.1 version of AirStrip ONE Cardiology, a solution that offers mobile clinical professionals a seamless user experience, regardless of form factor. Clinicians can now access vital data from across the care continuum in a single unified format. The solution provides a number of features to support expedited cardiac care delivery:

  • Current and historical electrocardiograms (ECGs) with digital visual enhancement
  • The ability to edit and confirm findings
  • Push notifications on critical values including ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) alerts and critical dysrhythmias
  • The ability to send ECGs and lab results via secure link sharing
  • Smart ECG routing that supports timely follow-ups and improved population health management goals
  • Access to electronic medical records (EMR), monitoring, and other patient data

VitalHub Chart, from Microsoft partner VitalHub, is another mobility app that externalizes data regardless of vendor and data source. This solution saves clinicians time and reduces the risk of treatment errors by integrating patient information from various EMR systems into a single, user-friendly interface. The VitalHub Server gathers, organizes, and then delivers the data in these systems so clinicians can focus on patient care. The solution offers one-touch access to patients’ charts as well as the ability to view and enter patient information on mobile devices. That information is highly protected through multi-factor authentication to restrict system access to authorized users and devices only. And there is no patient data stored on either the devices or the server.

Using the customizable VitalHub Chart dashboard, clinicians can select and display patient information specific to their specialty and daily needs. They can easily add and modify “dashlets” to support their workflows.  And with the power of Windows 8.1, clinicians are able to snap the VitalHub app (as well as other clinical or medical reference apps) side by side with their full enterprise EMR application should they need to engage in deeper, clinical workflows.

Healthcare does appear to be following the successes from the automotive industry and is actively using technological advancements with the bringing together of siloed information to improve patient care and help prevent us from needing those expensive repairs so we can all live healthier.

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*Screen images are for illustrative purposes. Actual screens may vary by implementation, site and user. The product shown contains features pending regulatory approval.

Hemang Patel
Senior Bus Dev Manager, US Health and Life Sciences

Microsoft in Health Blog

About the Author

Hemang Patel | Senior Bus Dev Manager, US Health and Life Sciences

Hemang Patel is an 8 year veteran of Microsoft’s health and life sciences division and currently working as a senior business development manager with a concentration in clinical mobility and distance health. Read more