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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.

The Dawn of a New Era for People Who Care about Health

The Dawn of a New Era for People Who Care about Health

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"Paternalism in healthcare died a not so quiet death with the dawn of the Internet".  That's an observation I made perhaps a dozen years ago as patients began to flood my office clutching printouts from their searches on the Net.  The Internet fundamentally and forever changed the doctor-patient relationship.  Patients now have the world's medical literature at their fingertips and 24/7 to study their own disease often putting them content-wise (but not context-wise) well ahead of their physician.  But searching for medical information on the Net has its perils too.  There's plenty of stuff out there with absolutely no scientific validity, and worse yet, a lot of information that's downright harmful.

So it's been clear for a very long time that consumers needed better tools when seeking health information for themselves or their loved ones.  That's why I'm so pleased that Microsoft is taking a leading position in all of this with the launch of a new health search service on Windows Live.  It helps people DISCOVER, LEARN, and ACT on their health searches, enabling them to make smarter health decisions. The service is part of the new Live Search offerings announced by Microsoft on September 26th.

Windows Live "Health Search" functionality intuitively organizes and surfaces the most relevant online health content, allowing users to refine searches faster and with more accuracy.  The new offering provides a landscape for navigating health topics not found in competing search engines today, including:

  • A “dashboard” that allows people to rapidly refine a more specific set of search terms. Users can quickly and easily see key concepts related to their query and drill down to find the results they want rather than having to read through pages and pages of results.
  • Article results from varied points of view (e.g. Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health, Gold Standard and Wikipedia) combine to help users understand enough about a topic to ask intelligent questions when they get to Web results.
  • Search results also include “Action Modules” to help people connect with relevant third party services and applications to take action – for example, finding a new doctor or purchasing a home monitoring device.

You can try it for yourself here.  And this is just the beginning!  There will be another big announcement coming from our Health Solutions Group next week.  I believe it is the dawn of yet another new era in healthcare, and one that will be very good for people seeking health information and wanting to do a better job taking care of their, and their family's health.

 

Bill Crounse, MD   Worldwide Health Director   Microsoft Corporation

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  • Dr. Crounse,

    Believe that I am one of the rare individuals in eHealth that favors and promotes accreditation of health web sites.  The contemporary health web site has been defined by the folks at URAC. (For those who are not familiar with URAC, google it)

    Rationale for accreditation: well, Jayco has not addressed the need for oversight to protect health web site Users; URAC appears to have all the standards of best practice for securing and delivering medical content over the Internet and is a voluntary endeavor for those healthcare facilities that would like formal and standardized validation of their health web site practices.  Accreditation would protect health enthusiasts from procuring questionable and down right incorrect healthcare opinions.  Remember, Internet do no harm!

    This is my rant and I'm sticking to it! Go URAC or maybe if HIMSS would like to pick up the gauntlet...

    The Alchemist

  • Dear Dr. Crounse:

    would Microsoft consider creating an electronic medical record? You have all the components already, a combination of Word, Access and Outlook would do the job.

    Could you combine elements of MS office to form a less expensive, more flexible EMR?

  • Matthias,

    Thanks for writing.  Our approach is to encourage and support the development community and a rich ecosystem of partners to use our platform and applications to build solutions for the healthcare industry.  Many EMR solutions are built using our technologies.  It is also common to find physician offices and clinics, especially the smaller ones, using Microsoft Office in one way or another, and sometimes as an EMR.  Outside the US there are many instances of hospitals and clinics that run their entire clinical and administrative operations on Microsoft technology.  

    Our Health Solutions Group is acquiring or developing applications for the enterprise market.  Although I cannot rule out that one day there might be an EMR from Microsoft; it is not on the immediate horizon.

    Bill Crounse, MD   Worldwide Health Director   Microsoft  

  • Dear Alchemist,

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my Blog.  Our Health Solutions Group will certainly verify any policies and practices related to their services with relevant bodies.  We have also elected to accredit our privacy policies with TRUSTe.

    Thanks again for writing.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  • >Our Health Solutions Group is acquiring or developing >applications for the enterprise market.  Although I cannot >rule out that one day there might be an EMR from >Microsoft; it is not on the immediate horizon.

    This exactly proves all my previous points by your own words :). Anyone who has some knowledge of the Healthcare IT industry and some brains can figure out that there is only a limited value in Azyxxi and Microsoft has to go "acquiring or developing" full-blown ERP/EMR system. Microsoft will surely piss off  their own partners and healthcare ISVs....    

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