The Next Chapter--Microsoft and digital technologies in health and healthcare delivery
When I joined Microsoft in September of 2002 I never dreamed I'd be writing this blog post in January of 2016. Of course in 2002 HealthBlog didn't exist. HealthBlog wasn't born until October of 2005. Since then, I've posted more than 800 articles about digital tech in health and healthcare.
I came to Microsoft after what had already been a pretty stimulating career. It all began at the tender age of 18 when I developed a television show for teens and young adults that was broadcast every summer throughout my college years. By the time I graduated college with thoughts of becoming a doctor I was managing six rock bands, producing outdoor concerts, and anchoring a weekend news program. I continued to work in the broadcasting industry for several years until I figured out it wasn't much of a career plan for someone who valued control and security in life. My attention turned back to medicine and following medical school and residency, I landed a clinical role at a prestigious Seattle multi-specialty clinic.
As a practicing physician my former broadcasting career soon came knocking again on my door. It started with appearances on our local ABC news station and quickly escalated into a half-time contract that had me appearing 5 evenings a week for more than a decade. Early in that decade I was also offered a gig with Lifetime Medical Television as the clinical anchor for medical programming that was broadcast around the world. I anchored Physician's Journal Update for 8 years. Late in the decade I also did work for ABC News (The Health Show), the Discovery Channel, and Medical News Network. All the while I continued to practice medicine when I wasn't flying somewhere to do a television show.
During the mid-80's to early 90's I became enthralled with technology. I recall being one of the first persons in the television news room to write my reports on a computer rather than a typewriter. I also got involved in a few technology companies and ultimately landed a role as the Senior VP, CIO and CMIO for one of our local hospitals. While there, in the late 90's, I co-founded a venture-backed company (Virtual Clinic Inc., doing business as Doctor Goodwell) that developed one of the first internet-based telemedicine solutions. Working in partnership with Microsoft we created software that allowed patients to schedule and hold virtual visits with their clinicians. But it didn't take long for us to realize that the technology wasn't yet mature enough, and the world wasn't quite ready enough, for what we were doing. The reward for me, however, ended up being offered a full-time job with Microsoft to help guide the company's early evolution in health and the healthcare industry.
So here I am almost 14 years later. The experience has truly been amazing. Being in a worldwide role since 2004, I've traveled the globe. I've met the most amazing leaders in medicine, technology, and government. I've enjoyed getting to know Microsoft customers and partners and doing keynotes at industry conferences and events in dozens of countries around the world. I've been able to participate in the development of new technologies and how they are applied to health and medicine from Kinect to Microsoft Band, HoloLens and more. I founded this HealthBlog and falling back on my television experience, developed the on-line video series Health Tech Today.
More than anything, I've had the opportunity to work with some of the best, smartest and most diverse people who have actively supported and nurtured my career at Microsoft. It is perhaps for that reason that I feel most ambivalent about the next chapter. But as in any good book, there must be a new chapter.
My team would tell you that I've been contemplating retirement for the past few years. I've changed my mind several times as I decided to stay just a bit longer to see the launch of a new platform, service, solution, device or other technology. But this year, for a number of reasons, I've firmly landed on a decision that it is time to let go--time to pass the baton on to the next generation of clinical leaders who can help guide this company's growth and value in health and medicine.
So it is with both a heavy heart and a great deal of enthusiasm and expectations about the future, that I announce my retirement from Microsoft and what has been a career that the teenaged-me, doing my little television show, would have never anticipated or believed possible.
Thanks to my loving wife and family for putting up with the world travel and crazy schedule all these years. Thanks to my team members for keeping us on the tracks. And, thanks to you for your loyal readership of HealthBlog over the years.
I fully expect our next clinical leader to pick up the reins and continue this company's and our partners' good work around the world to improve health and healthcare delivery. There's still so much more to do.
You can stay in touch with me, Bill Crounse, MD, on LinkedIn. Happy New Year!
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health (retired) Microsoft