Today's blog is courtesy of our Senior Director of Worldwide Health - Bill Crounse MD, as he looks to the festive tech around this winter from his home in the US...
The Holidays are coming at us fast. Are you looking for the perfect gift to give the doctor, nurse or other clinician in your life? Maria from The Sound of Music may have her favourite things list, but I have one too; only mine is much shorter. Here are a few of my favourite things for the doctor, nurse, or other clinician this Holiday season.
Windows Phone 8
On Black Friday (the day following Thanksgiving here in the United States) I was brave enough to venture into an AT&T Store to purchase a Windows Phone 8, more specifically a Nokia Lumia 920. That would have been totally insane if I was anywhere near Seattle, Bellevue, or Redmond. The lines and wait times to purchase a new Windows Phone 8 device anywhere near where I live have been crazy long. However, over Thanksgiving I was in Yakima, Washington, with my wife to share the holiday meal with her mother. When I saw that AT&T was offering a heck of a Black Friday deal, I hurried off to the nearest AT&T store. It was busy but they were also staffed up for the onslaught. I was able to purchase my new phone and get on my way within half an hour. I was actually quite torn between the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X. Both are delightful phones. However, my “old” phone was a Nokia 900 and I had been very satisfied with it. Also, reviewers have been raving about the camera on the Lumia 920. I use the camera on my smartphone all the time to take pictures that often end up here on HealthBlog. For that reason alone, the Lumia 920 won me over. So far, I love it. The Windows Phone 8 OS and the phone itself (with 32 GB of storage) are a big upgrade from what I had been using. You’ll find lots of professional reviews of Windows 8 Phones on the web. Although we still have some work to do with partners on getting all of the most desirable healthcare professional apps in the Windows Store, the clinician on your list will love a new Windows Phone 8. And, the IT shop in their hospital or clinic will love it too. It provides all the connectivity, manageability, security and privacy that will make it a welcome tool in the typical enterprise environment.
Littmann Bluetooth Stethoscope
I discovered this one back in 2010 while visiting with executives at 3M. I had been invited to provide a keynote address to the scientific and clinical leaders at 3M in August of that year. I also got a personal tour of the 3M innovation centre and shared my experience here in HealthBlog. In October, we featured what I think is one of 3M’s coolest and most useful innovations for clinicians; the Littmann Bluetooth Stethoscope (model 3200) on our on-line video series, Microsoft Health Tech Today. As I pointed out in an article here on HealthBlog, the stethoscope has been around for more than 100 years. But let me tell you, the Littmann Bluetooth is not your grandfather’s stethoscope. This one rocks and it’s packed with Microsoft technology. It not only records what it hears, but it connects to your computer or other devices wirelessly. It enables rich telehealth and telemedicine capabilities. It’s so cool that it is the stethoscope of choice for monitoring astronauts on the space station. My friends at 3M just sent me a link to a new video they have produced showing the Littmann Bluetooth in action. You’ll not only see it being used in space, but by clinicians around the world including those in my own back yard at Swedish Hospital Medical Centre in Seattle. What doctor or nurse wouldn’t want one of these? More information is available on the web pages with the video.
Microsoft Surface (or any one of the amazing new line-up of tablets, convertibles, ultrabooks, laptops, and desktops running Windows 8)
If you haven’t been to a computer store lately, you may be totally unaware that computers are way cool again. Every time I visit one of our Microsoft retail locations or a big box computer store, I am amazed at the diversity and beauty of the new line-up of devices. What you decide to buy for yourself or as a gift for someone else will depend totally one how you (or they) intend to use it. I can’t decide for you, but I know for sure that you’ll be blown away by what you see. The Microsoft Surface RT devices are definitely worth a look. However, for medical professionals who want the full power of a PC in their tablet, I would suggest waiting until after the Holidays when the Microsoft Surface Pro model will become available. Do your homework and you’ll be sure to find just the right device to meet your needs, whether that is a Microsoft Surface, or one of the many beautifully crafted machines running Windows 8 from a wide variety of manufacturers.
Bill Crounse, MD - Senior Director, Worldwide Health, Microsoft