Don’t get trapped in a health data vortex without the tech you need to manage it

Grand Canyon Panorama

HealthBlog readers may have noted my absence over the last two weeks. That’s because I was taking a little break from my day job at Microsoft. My wife and I enjoyed a much needed vacation in Sedona, Arizona, that included a side trip and overnight stay at the Grand Canyon. Although August isn’t the best time of year to visit Arizona unless you like being exposed to 100+ degree temperatures, it was none-the-less a highly enjoyable trip. Despite business travel that takes me all over the world, I had never been to the Grand Canyon or Sedona here in the U.S. I can now highly recommend both. The scenic vistas were amazing. We also enjoyed learning about the history of the area and visiting the many well preserved ruins associated with different native American tribes that have inhabited the area for more than a thousand years or so. Fascinating stuff!

Enchantment Panorama

Sedona, Arizona, is well known for mystical beliefs and paranormal activity associated with crystals and specific geologic sites and formations. Although I cannot claim to have seen or been transformed by a “vortex” during my vacation, I do understand why the area contributes to such beliefs. The landscape is truly magical.

So, now I’m back at work surrounded by an entirely different kind of vortex – the vortex of activity that comes with starting a new fiscal year at Microsoft. For our many healthcare customers and partners around the world, there’s a vortex of another kind. I’m talking about the vortex of activity associated with health reform, accountable care, meaningful use (for those of you in the US), and the ever-increasing expectation that you can do more with less.

These days the conversation I like to have with our healthcare customers is not doing more with less, but rather doing “new” with less. Although you may not be able to escape the march toward electronic medical records and the drumbeat for declining imagereimbursements, you can work smarter than you are working today. You can do that by readying your workforce for a more digital healthcare system. This includes equipping them with the tools they need to communicate, collaborate, organize, analyze and store all the information coming at them from an increasingly more complex ecosystem of care. Today that ecosystem consists of much more than just your own healthcare facility. You need to connect, communicate and collaborate with community physicians, extended care facilities, senior centers, nursing homes, community agencies, and even patients in their own homes. You need technology and devices that facilitate a new kind of clinical workflow and connectivity with your patients, partners and payors – a workflow that is increasingly mobile, yet must also keep patient information secure.

This year marks a very important point in the evolution of Microsoft products and services for our customers and partners around the world. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be keeping you up to date on how our most innovative customers and partners are using these latest technologies to improve care access and quality while also controlling costs. Let us show you how you too can do “new” with less.

Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health                                   Microsoft