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.

Future Vision: Microsoft knowledge driven health

Future Vision: Microsoft knowledge driven health

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If your company ever comes to Redmond for a health industry briefing at our Executive Briefing Center, or you happen to attend one of the many keynotes I give at industry conferences throughout the year, you'll more than likely see what is known as our Health Future Vision video. 

This is the third such health industry video we have produced here at Microsoft.  It has been my pleasure to work closely with Ian Sands and his Industry Innovations Group (IIG) to bring these videos to life.  What's particularly interesting is how accurate the videos have been in predicting future industry trends and how technology will influence the way we work.  Perhaps that's because IIG does so much internal and external research before producing one of these videos.  We also base them on technology that is either currently available but not widely implemented, or on technology that is being actively pursued in the labs at Microsoft Research.  In any event, everything you see in the video is based on technology that is available now, or is very likely to be available within a 7 to 12 year time frame.

Our newest Future Vision Video also captures the essence of healthcare industry trends that I've been following and writing about for the last few years.  This includes the rising tide of consumerism in healthcare, the retail movement, commoditization of services, information everywhere, and globalization.

In the video, we follow a young pre-diabetic patient as she ventures out on a run. During her run, various physiologic functions are being monitored and data is being sent in real time to her personal health record.


A case manager, who has been given permission by the patient to see her data, becomes aware that she may qualify for a new clinical trial.  When the young woman returns home she enters into a virtual consultation with her case manager who directs her to check with her personal physician about possible enrollment in the study.  She immediately schedules a "virtual conference" with her personal physician.


The scene switches to the young woman's endocrinologist as he beings to make rounds in a hospital.  He uses a very light-weight Tablet computer to gather information on his patients, locate needed equipment, and conduct his patient visits.


We see him performing a retinal exam on one of his diabetic inpatients and sharing results with the patient.

He later enters a special room where he conducts a "virtual visit" with the young woman we saw at the beginning of the video.  The physician, his patient, and a clinical researcher collaborate on details of the proposed clinical trial.

The doctor instructs his patient to visit a nearby retail setting, where as the video comes to a close, we see her using her "digital wallet" and a kiosk to get necessary tests and medication for the clinical trial.


I think the video accurately reflects the kind of consumer-directed, quality and price transparent, knowledge-driven healthcare delivery system we'd all like to see.  And while this is just a video, it certainly captures the essence for how information technology will help transform medical practice to better connect people and data, facilitate improved collaboration, and better inform everyone involved.

Now that you understand the storyline, please take a few moments to watch the video:  Enjoy!

Bill Crounse, MD   Worldwide Health Director    Microsoft Corporation

  • Just added my own blog this month. I need some inspiration. Thx.

  • I appreciate Bills concept and the future vision in the Healthcare.

    It is really a wonderful development and vision,  when it is fully introduced and operable worldwide.

    The benefits I could see if implemented with the support from the insurance agencies and the government:

    • No long waiting time to meet the doctors even for the trivial ailments

    • Travel time and cost could be avoided.

    • Patient monitoring would become easier.

    • Patients whose conditions are stable could be discharged from the hospital inpatient departments to accommodate others in the waiting.


    • To use this doctors and patients need to be technology savvy.

    • May not be available as it looks very expensive.

    What we are seeing here would be more expensive and cannot be reachable for all. It is only compatible with the IT savvy people and doctors, also to the people who are having access to the latest technology and know how to operate. How many people are tech savvy? What happens to the rest of the world waiting to get medical aid for even minutest medical/surgical problems?

    Inventions in the medicine and healthcare IT is a welcome sign throughout the world and appreciated by one and all.

    Any invention if is not helpful to the common man eventually turns to be a failure.

    We are talking about health for all by 2020. Probably making consultations Virtual might be beneficial to the people who are remotely located. That would decrease the travel time and cost.

    As rightly commented by some guest it is not a technology problem but a bureaucratic problem. The senior management in almost all the successful healthcare Industries the concentration is not really in delivering the healthcare but solely on the revenue. So the healthcare had become a pure market place for the past 2 decades.

    For acute problems and common ailments (not medical/surgical emergencies) a virtual consultation saves much time to the doctors as well as patients owing to the globalization and also traffic/distance.

  • We generally do not release these videos for public viewing beyond what is available on sites like my Blog or YouTube, etc.  I have no doubt that what we see in the video, will become a part in our daily lives.

  • It's been two years since this post was made and I'm just wondering if any of the technology from this video is being utilized yet. If even half of the ideas this video shows were being used, I could imagine how much easier life would be for patients and doctors.

    P.S. - I want that digital wallet, where can I get one ;)

  • After 5 years of using EMR technology and providing the options of managing diabetes via e-visit concept for almost 3 years, I continue to find that IT companies are woefully deficient in undestabding the requirements of providing health care and insurers are (intentionally or otherwise) uninterested in providing appropriate financial incentives for physicians willing an able to utilise IT to improve quality of care.

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  • Great read . Thanks. I see that Microsoft is very active with healthcare solutions across the world. Is India your target market. i am kind of boomed by the way technology is accepted and adopted in countries like India and other emerging markets. here is a study

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