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Thoughts, comments, news, and reflections about healthcare IT from Microsoft's worldwide health senior director Bill Crounse, MD, on how information technology can improve healthcare delivery and services around the world.

Tablet PC as Mobile, Medical Monitor

Tablet PC as Mobile, Medical Monitor

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In Healthcare IT News, Peter Haigh discusses a very intriguing pilot program at New York Presbyterian Hospital.  Dubbed "M3" for Mobile Medical Monitor, the pilot aggregates a variety of clinical, collaboration and communication functions on to a single device; the Tablet PC.  As clinicians roam the halls of their hospital, clinic or anywhere in between, they will be able to monitor patients, access clinical applications, and send and receive e-mail, instant messages, voice and video communications.  The pilot involves 10 to 20 users and is being conducted in partnership with VerizonSeveral other companies including Intel, Dell, NetMotionWireless, Cisco and Nortel are also contributing.

This caught my attention as I have believed for a long time that the true potential for mobile devices in healthcare, especially the Tablet PC, has yet to be fully appreciated.  This is truly an amazing device that's not only a window to the information one needs when caring for patients, but a wondrous tool to manage all the forms of communication and collaboration that are so essential to the practice of medicine.

At Microsoft we use an application called Office Communicator.  It brings together all of my communication modalities, and the tools to manage them, to my desktop PC, notebook, or Tablet PC. Using Active Directory as well as hooks to on-line communities including MSN, Yahoo and even AOL, I can see the on-line "presence" of my coworkers, friends and family.  In a patient care context, that might also include the on-line presence of my patients.  Using a single device, I can send an e-mail or instant message, receive a page or text message, start an audio or video conference, and even place or manage my telephone calls.  My Tablet PC has become a kind of "command center" for all forms of communication and collaboration.  This is stuff that seemed like Star Wars just a few years ago.  Not only that, but by also using Office Live Meeting I can share just about any document or application that is running on my Tablet with one, two-hundred, or two-thousand others.  I can even turn over control of my Tablet PC to one of my colleagues and let him drive it remotely from thousands of miles away.

This is going to be huge in healthcare.  I just can't wait until more of my fellow clinicians, and vendors developing solutions for the healthcare industry, take advantage of this miracle of communication and collaboration. 

What do you think?  Let us know.

Bill Crounse, MD, Global Healthcare Industry Manager, Microsoft Healthcare and Life Sciences

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