Electronic records may define new era for “evidence-based” medicine

This week while other members of my Microsoft team are hanging out in Brussels, Oslo, Mexico City, Rio, and even Cyprus, I find myself in Indianapolis, Indiana. Oh well, at least the plane ride was shorter.

WP_000409I’m here for something we call the EBC (executive briefing center) Direct program. In today’s health economy, many of our best customers, and especially public health organizations, are unable to attend briefings held at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond. So, we fly to them. Today I’m meeting with some large and well known health systems based in Indianapolis to provide an overview of what Microsoft is doing in health and healthcare.

WP_000412Regular readers of HealthBlog know that I am attracted to venues with water and large ships. Having grown up on the waters of Puget Sound, I guess it’s in my blood. I had no problem finding either water or ships during my visit last week to Boston where I provided a keynote for the Massachusetts Medical Society. Naturally, I didn’t have high expectations for finding water or ships during my visit to Indianapolis. But surprise! My hotel is located on a body of water (OK it’s a large drainage pond, but water none-the-less). As for ships, I did see something on display at the local mall that might be called a ship. It was a new Jaguar XJL – certainly big enough and expensive enough to qualify.

The customers I’m meeting with here in Indianapolis already have contemporary hospital information systems in place. But, I’ll be keen to remind them that “it’s what you do next that counts”. An EMR or HIS system digitizes health information, but it is how we use that information that really changes the game. The road to higher quality, lower cost, more efficacious care (and prevention) comes when we apply powerful tools to aggregate and analyze health data in real time and make better decisions based on new knowledge.

imageThe prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published an article this week that brings home the point. The article, “Evidence-Based Medicine in the EMR Era” by Jennifer Frankovich, M.D., Christopher A. Longhurst, M.D., and Scott M. Sutherland, M.D., examines how one pediatric institution used archived EMR data and analytic tools to provide better care for one of their patients. The article makes the point that having vast repositories of searchable patient information at hand may enable a new kind of “evidence-based” medicine when guidelines from traditional, double-blind studies don’t yet exist.

At Microsoft, we and our partners offer solutions that help healthcare organizations with all kinds of work loads and needs that traditional HIS/EMR vendors usually don’t provide. This includes contemporary solutions for infrastructure optimization, care team communication and collaboration, and business and clinical intelligence. Learn more at www.microsoft.com/health and www.microsoft.com/hsg.

Now, I wonder if I could take a swim in that pond outside of my hotel? OK, probably a bad idea. 

Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft

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