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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.

Microsoft Azyxxi One Year Later; 21 hospitals and counting

Microsoft Azyxxi One Year Later; 21 hospitals and counting

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A little more than a year ago, I introduced HealthBlog readers to Azyxxi, Microsoft's unified health enterprise platform solution.  I also recorded an audio-cast with executives from our Health Solutions Group.  A few months ago, I updated you with another audio-cast featuring one of Azyxxi's early adopter customers, New York Presbyterian Hospital.  Today, Microsoft is announcing the addition of yet another well known hospital system to the growing list of Azyxxi customers; Novant Health.

Novant will implement Azyxxi throughout the enterprise, initially focusing on intensive care units and emergency departments and then expanding throughout its eight acute care hospitals and an 800-physician medical group.  With Novant and NY Presbyterian, early Azyxxi adopters now include 21 different hospitals at academic medical centers such as Johns Hopkins Health System; large health systems such as MedStar Health; and the Wisconsin Health Information Exchange, which will eventually tie together 25 different hospitals in Southeastern Wisconsin.

As we discussed in my most recent audio-cast, New York Presbyterian Hospital and its associated network is using Azyxxi to unify its existing and legacy information systems to create broad accessibility of its vast quantities of information. New York Presbyterian's senior vice president and CIO, Aurelia Boyer says, “As we’ve automated more and more of the processes within the hospital and created more electronic data sources, our ability to mine and utilize that data is becoming more of a priority. Making the data from different systems available in a way that makes good management, clinical and quality sense takes a lot of effort, and is a major goal for an institution like ours. Giving people in the hospital ready access to different kinds of data is priceless to us.”

Azyxxi Screen Shots

Whereas New York Presbyterian is looking at Azyxxi as an administrative tool to guide organizational decisions, Novant Health is working to implement Azyxxi in support of its clinical operations.  “I’ve seen estimates that say a physician spends most of his or her time collecting information about the patient before they deliver the care,” says  Rich McKnight, Novant’s CIO. “Our goal is to dramatically reduce the amount of time in information gathering, and increase the amount of time in taking care of the patient.”

It has been my personal pleasure to attend many Azyxxi customer briefings with executives from our Health Solutions Group.  I can tell you that the solution is generating lots of excitement in the industry.  I also remember very well sitting with a senior finance executive at MedStar Health in Washington, D.C., as he was extolling the virtues of Azyxxi for revenue cycle enhancement and recovery.  The system gave Washington Hospital visibility to millions of dollars in high-value procedures and tests that were being improperly coded and therefore not collected by the hospital; millions of dollars that can now be spent delivering care to patients.

As Azyxxi liberates healthcare data from the constraints of silos and systems that don't "talk" to one another, I can only imagine the implications for providing cost and quality transparency in the industry, and our potential to improve the efficacy and efficiency of the care being provided by clinicians.

Bill Crounse, MD   Worldwide Health Director   Microsoft Corporation

  • Has anyone of these 21 hospitals deployed Azyxxi in production for daily operations?

  • Guest,

    Thanks for your question.  Yes, Azyxxi is fully deployed and used in daily operations across all seven of MedStar Health's hospitals in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.  In those hospitals, it supports both clinical and administrative workflows.  At New York Presbyterian,  Azyxxi will be used initially to support administrative decision making.  Johns Hopkins will use Azyxxi to support clinical research.  At Novant, Azyxxi will initially support clinical operations.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  • Not counting Medstar :) this is where Azyxxi was developed as a home-grown system. I am asking about commercial customers who are paying money for it. So, it seems like all these hospitals are who bought Azyxxi but have not yet implemented it. Kudos to the Microsoft sales team!

  • Guest,

    Yes, excellent sales team!  But also, smart customers who understand the value proposition of this very powerful health enterprise platform solution that is now being made even better by Microsoft and our early adopter customers and development partners :)

    Bill Crounse, MD

  • >very powerful health enterprise platform solution that is >now being made even better by Microsoft and our early >adopter customers and development partners :)

    This is something which only time will tell :)

    Dr. Crounse, please explain to me what is so powerful about Azyxxi application developed using 10-year old technology (according to the screenshots provided) ? I am not so sure as to why Microsoft thinks that it can execute and deliver something it has no expertise in and what many others failed? There are multiple examples of projects failures in the healthcare IT space: NHS project disaster in UK, failed Australian IT healthcare project, IBM tried to develop IT system for Kaiser Permanente in early 90's for a long time and failed and only to be picked up by Epic Systems and dubbed HealthConnect which is another disaster. Or why healthcare giants like Philips or Siemens don't have a complete offering in this space? Shall I go on? Is it because of lack of talent or simply because problem is too complex to deal to begin with? Healthcare organizations don't know themselves what they need and pay for different stuff - the more the better just simply because they have money to burn. The main reason any IT company works on healthcare IT projects is because of big $$$. Taking into account that baby-boomer population of the developed world  is aging rapidly and they are the ones who hold most money the spendings in this area are only going to increase over time and it is obvious to any one with some brains.

    And honestly, I see little value proposition of Azyxxi over existing fully integrated systems of Allscripts, Epic Systems, Cerner and others. To provide full value Azyxxi has to become an EMR at some point or ERP system for healthcare - this is a natural development step for it. There is no any other way. For Microsoft to develop an expertise in this area it will take many years unless there is an acquisition to be made.  And this is a path where it will be competing with existing partner ISVs which is a completely different discussion.    

  • Guest,

    As always thanks for contributing to the dialogue.  Azyxxi is not meant to be a HIS or EMR replacement.  It is a unified health enterprise platform.  It aggregates and stores data across multiple applications and makes it available for highly personalized, real-time clinical and business analytics to support knowledge-driven decision making.  Under Microsoft's umbrella and with the help of our first customers and development partners, we will develop applications and technologies that surround Azyxxi and make it even more compelling.

    As to the other points you make; yes, healthcare is complex and this isn't lost on Microsoft.   In a prior Blog posting I posed the question "if not Google and Microsoft, who?" implying that for all the reasons you cite, I believe only global companies like Google, Microsoft and others working in step with government institutions, researchers, clinicians, standards bodies and healthcare leaders around the world really have a chance to move the healthcare industry and the technologies we use in new directions to improve the quality and safety of care and the satisfaction of those who deliver and receive it.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  • Where do you see telehomecare/telemedicine fitting in with azyxxi? Is would a platform connected in realtime that fully integrates and aggregates the data collected be part of the roadmap?

  • Peter,

    It's a little early for me to comment on how Azyxxi and related MS technologies will play in the home care and telemedicine arenas.  In previous Blog postings I've shared my views on how our Unified Communications platform will enable caregiver collaboration and personal tele-health capabilities.  Solutions such as Azyxxi will help us aggregate and analyze data to deliver more knowledge-driven healthcare and help both consumers and healthcare providers access health information whenever and wherever it is needed.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  • >Azyxxi is not meant to be a HIS or EMR replacement.  It is >a unified health enterprise platform.  It aggregates and >stores data across multiple applications and makes it >available for highly personalized, real-time clinical and >business analytics to support knowledge-driven decision >making.  Under Microsoft's umbrella and with the help of >our first customers and development partners, we will >develop applications and technologies that surround >Azyxxi and make it even more compelling.

    Dr. Crounse, with all my respect, in my post I did not say that Azyxxi is an EMR or HIS replacement. I said that given now that it is a 'healthcare platform' (read 'a data warehouse of all data configured to available in the heathcare enterprise') the only logical and evolutionally meaningful step for it is to BECOME at some point an EMR or HIS. There is only a handful of software applications for Healthcare IT and you should know this better then I do. Should I name them ? CPOE, Registration, ADT, Billing, Appointment scheduling, Lab information system are to start the list. If Microsoft does not go into this space Azyxxi will still be a data agregator of disjoint data sets from unrelated information systems and there is a limited value in this mess of data.      

  • by Jeff McKune In an earlier blog entry, Tony wrote about upcoming offerings by both Google and Microsoft. It looks like the name of Microsoft’s offering is Azyxxi (“ah ZIK see”). Microsoft describes Azyxxi as a tool for integrating disparate hea

  • I will add a few comments, having heard of Azyxxi originally from non-Microsoft sources.  (My own point of view as a non-Microsoft employee).

    First of all, it was developed in house by two physicians (with computer background, I believe) with additional computer programing help.  They were not computer programmers and business consultants trying to understand what doctors wanted.  They were not trying to develop a system to market.  They were not interested in making a complicated system that required expensive ongoing maintenance.

    In other words, they knew what they wanted, they new what it had to do, and they wanted it to work in their own hospital.  

    Second, rather than being a "data agregator of disjoint data sets from unrelated information systems ... [with] a limited value in this mess of data",  it is a database agregator that very nicely makes disjoint data sets manageable and can be used with relative ease by different EMRs acting as the "face" of the system to the user.  

    Microsoft has had it for a little more than a year, correct?  With my experience involving large hospital IT management, it is impressive that some institutions have even made up their mind to use it within a year's time, let alone working on implementing it in any part part of the operation.

  • by Tony Chen Recently, I had the opportunity to experience a live demo of Microsoft's Azyxxi software. A lot of buzz has been circulating around the software for a few reasons: - It was designed by physicians - It's already working in 20+ hospitals a

  • Re: Azyxxi. I recently read a press release from a company called Medseek that provides hospital Internet interoperability and a partnership with the MedStar seven facilities in Washington, D.C.

    What is the relationship between Medseek and Azyxxi concerning this MedStar project?   Understand that Medseek has successfully implemented interoperability with over 600 hospitals in the United States.

  • Medseek is one of the HealthVault launch partners. They have used the HealthVault SDK to allow data coming from MedStar (stored in Azyxxi) to be uploaded into the user's Personal Health Record. Feeds from MedStart were directed to Medseek to allow this to happen.

  • Dr. Crounse,

    I am a health administration and health informatics student and am doing a research project on Azyxxi. Do you have any additional screen shots of the interface that might be a higher resolution than the ones already posted? It also appears very hard to obtain information about the underlying technology that powers the system. Any ideas where I can go to obtain something like this?

    Best Regards,

    Chris

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