This post originally ran here on 19 March.

WP_20140319_10_27_13_ProThis week I’m travelling in Eastern Canada or more specifically the greater Toronto area. I’m came to speak at a healthcare executive roundtable event organized by my Microsoft colleagues who manage our health business in Canada. It was also an opportunity to catch up with some of our customers and partners in the region. Last night I had dinner with Ken Sutcliff who serves as CIO for Cancer Care Ontario, an organization that touches the lives of more than 300,000 citizens in Ontario. Ken and I have met onseveral occasions over the years in Toronto and at industry conferences. He’s one of those forward looking individuals who is always pressing the envelope on ways to better serve patients through innovative uses of technology. He’s also a pragmatist, and as such, is particularly interested in leveraging cloud technologies to provide better, more scalable services to his constituents while lowering his organization’s fixed IT costs. If you happen to share this interest for your own organization, I can highly recommend a visit the newMicrosoft Technology Center in Mississauga. It is the place in Canada to experience how technology is being used to improve and transform how business gets done.


You may recall that a few weeks ago a wrote a piece on HealthBlog titled, Do we need to reimagine the electronic medical record.This morning I had a chance to meet up with a partner called AVOCA. They are doing the kind of work I was referring to in that post about reimaging the EMR. As company representative, Fred Rossi, explained to me; how they got where they are is perhaps as interesting as what they are doing.

WP_20140319_10_14_19_ProAbout two and one-half years ago, AVOCA developed an app to help professional and junior sports teams, primarily hockey, (this is Canada after all) record play-by-play video; stream it live on a private network to tablet devices where coaches, players or others could tag it; annotate it; mark it up; run it forward or back in full or slow motion; and generally do everything you might see in a network television sports broadcast while maintaining  and recording the full video stream of the live event.

A surgical resident in one of Canada’s largest teaching hospitals was searching the web for information on video streaming technologies. He was looking for ways to bring rich video streaming and live editing capability into the surgical suite. He came across
the technology that AVOCA had developed for professional sports and invited the company to do a demo for the chief of surgery. The rest is, as they say, history. AVOCA is now working with the teaching hospital to round out a commercial solution for the health industry.

imageSurgeons use glasses produced by Pivothead that are capable of taking high definition video. The glasses send a wireless signal to AVOCA’s customized broadcast router where images can be displayed on tablet devices connected to a private network. Use case scenarios that are being explored include instruction, live remote second opinion services, surgical procedure reviews, surgical resume building for residents, and documentation into the operative record.

WP_20140319_09_56_16_ProMight such technology one day replace the dictated operative note? I certainly expect that we’ll be seeing increasing use for high definition, digitally captured video across many disciplines in clinical medicine. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, or maybe a million.

Bill Crounse, MD  Senior Director, Worldwide Health  Microsoft