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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.

New Streaming Video: Windows Vista--Making computing more accessible to everyone

New Streaming Video: Windows Vista--Making computing more accessible to everyone

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As a physician and computer enthusiast, I have a lot of passion about ways to make computing more accessible to everyone regardless of ability or disability.  That's why I'm so enamored by the work of our Accessibility Group here at Microsoft and the amazing solutions that make it possible for people with cognitive, visual, auditory, or neuromuscular disabilities to get the most out of Windows and everything else we develop at our company. 

In July of 2005, at the invitation of our Accessibility Group, I had an opportunity to host a conference at the world renowned Rusk Institute in New York City.  It was during that event that I really came to appreciate the importance of accessibility features and assistive technologies to users around the world.  These innovations are making it possible for so many people to live full and productive lives.  It is therefore extremely important for healthcare providers to become familiar with these tools since they are often the first point of contact for people during the onset of a temporary or permanent disability.  With such knowledge, clinicians can provide greater support and encouragement for patients needing help to remain active, productive and more independent at home or work.

Although accessibility tools have always been a part of the Windows experience, Windows Vista takes that experience to new heights.  Recently, I spent an afternoon with key members of our accessibility team taking a deeper look at the accessibility innovations available in Windows Vista.  With the launch of Windows Vista now underway, I thought this was an ideal time to share my excitement about what I learned.

I hope you enjoy the show.  The first segment of our two-part program takes a look at the surprising incidence of permanent and temporary disabilities and then demonstrates some of the accessibility tools available in Windows Vista.  See how the Ease of Access Center can be used to customize a user's experience to meet their needs and abilities; watch how the Narrator accessibility feature can be used to navigate applications; and learn about other features in Windows Vista designed for people with visual disabilities.  The second segment, which will be released in the next week or so, explores speech recognition capabilities in Windows Vista.  Watch a demonstration to learn how you can open, close, and use programs; navigate around the screen; explore the Web; and create documents.  You'll also get some tips on how to edit documents, improve recognition of custom or unusual words, and get the most out of speech recognition in Windows Vista. 

Bill Crounse, MD        Healthcare Industry Director          Microsoft

Stream the video here

Additional resources

General Accessibility Information at Microsoft 

Accessibility and Windows Vista/Office 2007

Aging and Accessibility Technology

Accessibility Technology Video Case Studies

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