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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 makes some important announcements at HIMSS Day 1

Microsoft makes some important announcements at HIMSS Day 1

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HeadShot While I was winging my way back from Japan two things were particularly on my mind.  First was the culmination of a very successful week of meetings with health industry executives and government leaders and advisors in Japan.  This included a delightful breakfast meeting with Professor Motoshige Ito at the Park Hyatt.  Professor Ito is an economics advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister and a frequent commentator on national Japanese IMG_1415television.  We really hit it off as we discussed health reform initiatives and activities underway in the US and Japan and how ICT would play a significant role in improving health and delivering healthcare around the world.  On my last day in Japan I provided a  keynote at a hospital CEO event organized by our local health industry team.  Executives from both public and private hospitals attended.  It was a rare opportunity to exchange ideas and share information about health IT initiatives in Japan and around the world.  After the day of meetings, we retreated to a special Japanese dinner at a lovely restaurant in my hotel.  The conversation continued well into the night.

clip_image002The second thing on my mind on the flight home was the opening of HIMSS several thousand miles away in Atlanta.  Although I am not attending the meeting this year in person (due to other commitments), I was thinking about the buzz that would soon surround the Microsoft booth.  You see, this year we are making some exciting announcements at HIMSS.  One of those is a project I’ve been following for the past year code-named “StarGate” and later known as “Miami”.  I can now reveal the actual name for this very exciting solution—HealthVault Community Connect.  Community Connect will solve some pretty vexing problems confronting many of America’s hospitals; how to more efficiently connect and share information with referring physicians and community members.  Among the things possible with HealthVault Community Connect:

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  • Gathers a patient’s hospital visit information stored in the hospital’s separate IT systems and makes it available, for the first time, to the patient and referring physician(s)
  • Lets patients view, store and share  a summary of their hospital visit and discharge information from any computer with Internet access
  • Lets patients pre-register for hospital visits online using their electronic personal health information stored in Microsoft HealthVault, helping to ensure the consistency of the information provided over time

I’m confident that Healthvault Community Connect with hit a sweet spot for hospitals large and small.  The technology is based on Microsoft SharePoint and also takes advantage of modules found within Microsoft Amalga UIS and, of course, HealthVault.

image Another announcement made this morning came from the Cleveland Clinic.  Researchers there have been studying how Microsoft HealthVault and HealthVault connected devices in the home can be used to manage chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure.  Among patients in the study (250+) the project found a significant change in the average number of days between physician office visits for participating patients. Diabetic and hypertensive patients were able to make doctor's office visits less often, increasing the number of days between appointments by 71 percent and 26 percent respectively, indicating that patients had better control of their conditions. Heart failure patients, however, visited their doctors more often, decreasing the number of days between visits by 27 percent, indicating that patients were advised to see their healthcare provider in a more timely manner—something that is extremely important for heart failure patients in order to reduce hospitalizations.

HealthTech_Logo_MAIN_WMS Logo_v2 You can learn even more about how HealthVault is being used by clinicians to help manage patients with chronic conditions on this month’s Health Tech Today video series.  On the program, we interview a physician and patient at the Mayo Clinic and learn how both are benefitting by being able to share information on Microsoft HealthVault.  Also, if you happen to be at HIMSS, stop by the Microsoft Theater where you can preview some of the exciting program segments from our Health Tech Today series.

For more information about HealthVault Community Connect and the Cleveland Clinic chronic condition management pilot, click on  the links above.  For complete information on all of the Microsoft and partner announcements coming out during HIMSS, please visit the Microsoft News Center virtual press room or stop by our Booth No. 6733 at HIMSS.

Bill Crounse, MD     Senior Director, Worldwide Health    Microsoft

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