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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.

Clinicians in Australia—May the Force Be with You

Clinicians in Australia—May the Force Be with You

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Remember that often used quote from Star Wars, “May the force be with you”?  It think it is a fitting slogan as I end my two week business trip to Australia.image

This trip started a week ago last Tuesday when I arrived in Perth for  presentations and meetings on Thursday and Friday.  The following Monday, I had press interviews and customer meetings in Sydney.  We then moved on to Adelaide, Melbourne, back to Sydney and on to Brisbane where our 2009 Caregiver Collaboration Tour came to a close.  At each stop we experienced an outstanding turnout of hospital executives, administrators, government officials, and clinicians.  I was especially pleased to see so many clinicians at our events.  They approached me after each presentation to say how eager they were to start using unified communications technology for care team collaboration and coordination of care.  And it wasn’t just the younger clinicians in the crowd!  In fact, some of the most enthusiastic docs I met were long term veterans of the profession who know there is a better, more efficient and satisfying way to practice medicine using contemporary information technology solutions.

IMAG0032Joining me on our Caregiver Collaboration Tour were Harold Melnick (pictured at the podium), who provided live demos of unified communications technology, and Dr. David Dembo, who serves as Microsoft’s health industry director for Australia.  Dr. Dembo was trained in primary care in South Africa before coming to Australia where he practiced medicine for a time.  He later joined IBM and three years ago was recruited to lead our health industry team in Australia.  I must also thank our industry marketing lead in Australia, Renee Cathcart.  Renee not only planned our entire agenda, but she and her team orchestrated numerous press and media interviews for me along the way including a visit to Australia’s Sky News television and interviews with the Sydney Morning Herald and Brisbane Times among others.

City Cat Yesterday my day ended early enough that I was able to see a few sites.  Having been to Brisbane before, I headed straight for the CityCat water taxi and went for a cruise along the river.  It’s an excellent and inexpensive way to tour Brisbane.  The weather here has been extremely hot and humid, but at the bow of my cruiser there was a refreshing breeze that took the edge off the heat while we were underway.Tug

As my CityCat traveled from stop to stop, I took a picture every now and then of scenery and interesting things that I saw along the way. One of those things was an old tug boat moored by the side of the river.  Its name was Forceful.  It struck me that Forceful was a fitting name for a tug.  It also caused me to reflect on the last two weeks and the many people I met along the way including those enthusiastic and innovative clinicians who are pressing for change.  I believe those clinicians will be a significant force for change in medical practice and patient care in Australia, and to them I say, “May the force be with you!”

Bill Crounse, MD   Senior Director, Worldwide Health   Microsoft Corporation

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