It’s no secret that we are facing big challenges in the healthcare industry. Despite many new technological advances, as a nation we’re not getting any healthier
. At the same time, medical costs continue to rise
. Software innovation can help us surmount many of these challenges but not all new technology advances guarantee improved health – it takes a more holistic approach.
Health reform has spurred a number of important changes
from the adoption of electronic medical records to the establishment of state health insurance exchanges for consumers to manage their own health - but there’s still more to be done. As Microsoft’s new general manager for U.S. Health and Life Sciences
, I am excited by these opportunities created by the continued convergence of health markets and feel there is opportunity to bring about real change in the industry. Increasingly, providers, health plans and life sciences organizations are working together, dismantling traditional silos and sharing information to better manage and treat patient populations. Working with all of these groups, Microsoft
is uniquely positioned to deliver innovative technological solutions across the health care spectrum.
We’re doing this by making information accessible whenever and wherever people need it by connecting systems, processes and people. In fact, Microsoft technology is powering dozens of the nation’s first health information exchanges. As an example, by using the Microsoft Amalga
Unified Intelligence System (UIS), the Wisconsin Health Information Exchange
found that not only were doctors and clinicians able to get more patient information more quickly, they were also able to work more efficiently
, avoiding unnecessary testing and procedures.
We’re also creating technologies that enable health care organizations to improve decision making. Massachusetts General Hospital, for instance, is using several Microsoft technologies to deliver virtual colonoscopies
. Not only is this new technique much more comfortable and far less invasive for the patient, but it delivers results in near real-time and is much less expensive than traditional colonoscopies.
As we move into the next decade, true transformation will be about empowering consumers to manage – and thus improve -- their own health. EmblemHealth
is a great example of a health plan that’s helping enable just that – by using Microsoft Azure and Windows Phone, they deployed a mobile health app that lets consumers quickly and easily find flu shot locations on their mobile device.
As we help to move the health industry forward, our commitment is also evident in the newly-created role of Chief Health Strategy Officer. Dennis Schmuland, who is assuming this new role, will work closely with U.S. providers, health plans, life sciences and government health and human services groups to help our team connect the dots around big challenges facing the health industry in order to create effective solutions to address them. A physician who holds a doctorate in medicine, Dennis brings a unique perspective to the role.
I will also work very closely with Peter Neupert and his worldwide team. As the health leader in the company’s largest subsidiary, it is my job to showcase the breadth of our offerings, including Health Solution Group’s assets -- such as Microsoft Amalga and HealthVault - to our growing U.S. market.
By examining everything from consumer behavior, to environmental conditions and health literacy, together we will be able to identify ways in which Microsoft and its partners’ technology can be leveraged to improve care delivery and empower the consumer while simultaneously reducing cost and complexity. What new technology would you like to see in order to tackle these challenges?