Healthcare IT: Microsoft’s View, Part I

Posted on July 10, 2010


The following excerpts are taken from Microsoft’s white paper “Knowledge Driven Health: The Next Wave of Innovation in Healthcare”.  I could not manage to locate it again on the web again; I believe it is from 2008.

In lieu of a weblink, I have provided a Cliff’s Notes version of the document in two parts which, as the authors “present a vision of how health will be provided in the future.” Who knows what ideas will be adopted or how long it will take, but I found this a pretty realistic view into the crystal ball of where healthcare and information technology intersect; it is not the future for future’s sake, but an innovative future that looks to solve some of today’s major problems in healthcare. Microsoft offers more recent white papers at their website. 

The highlights:

“In this vision, technology supports and extends the capabilities of clinicians and healthcare facility administrators.

“Collection and management of vast amounts of clinical data (data needed for medical decision-making at the time of patient interaction) is a burden…Healthcare delivery is still largely manual and paper-based.

“Concerns plaguing the healthcare sector: escalating costs; inconsistent quality in therapies and outcomes; aging population; clinical research that takes a decade, on average, to get integrated into mainstream practice; lack of readily available clinical data; inappropriate hospitalizations; medication errors; and preventable deaths.

Key Challenges:
Interoperability of Health Information
• Seamless transfer of clinical patient data…vary in terms of modernity and sophistication
• Care providers simply do not have systems that enable them to synthesize and apply the appropriate data at decision-making time
• Care providers isolated from core clinical data can lack collaborative tools
• Too much time spent gathering clinical data from fragmented and incomplete sources, both electronic and paper-based

Clinician Adoption
• No one can force clinical staff to use systems; recording care is secondary to providing care
• Need easy access to data, processes and people anywhere and anytime needed
• Many health professionals have stayed with tried-and-true analog tools because of their simplicity, familiarity, and immediacy
• Clinical information system cannot be so complicated it takes hours of training, creates inefficiencies or potential for harmful errors; must be simple, speedy, portable, easy to find, quickly available, little or no formal training, quickly proficient with data entry that fits clinicians’ work flow: point and click, keyboard, digital ink, voice, gesture; should look and work like Web-based environments already familiar.
• Clinical information system: seamlessly and securely share information within and between hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices, and should fully integrate with insurers and other payers; affordable; proven, standardized, and affordable platform.

Information Glut
• Data being generated by researchers
• “GPS system for clinical practice”
• Context-aware system

Key Trends
“The health industry is typically 15 to 20 years behind other global industries with similar complexity in deploying and benefiting from automation.

Mobile Computing
“Advanced mobility solutions assist in the reduction of errors by capturing and delivering critical medical data at the point of care.
Database should be bedside of patient with access to patient’s complete medical record on a wireless-enabled tablet computer.  A growing range of medical devices digitally collect valuable information about an individual’s health status…leads to advanced home-based monitoring systems.

Consumer Driven Health
“For consumers to make effective healthcare choices there must be price and quality transparency about health professionals and facilities…Personal Health Record (portable, complete, owned by patient).

“Healthcare Dial Tone.  Healthcare dial tone is the concept of health information as a utility—as ubiquitous in its availability as a phone signal…it has everything to do with making existing data widely available to those decision-makers who are caring for patients.

Real-Time Data / Bio-Surveillance
“Patient data must continue to be immediately accessible. In the future, clinical information systems will deliver real-time data as needed to support local, regional, and national bio-surveillance and public health needs.

“We live in an age of reactive, brick and mortar healthcare that is usually provided in centralized facilities constructed at great expense. Most of us only come into contact with sophisticated medical instrumentation when something has gone seriously wrong…Medicine is probably the only area of our lives where we tolerate this lack of control.”

See future post “Healthcare IT:  Microsoft’s View, Part II”

Posted in: Healthcare IT