Warning! For American clinicians only

OK, I hope the headline caught your attention.  If you are a clinician, keep reading.  If you are not a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider it's OK to read this too.  In fact, you probably should.

A regular theme on HealthBlog has been the growing use of contemporary, lower-priced, very powerful, knowledge worker solutions in healthcare settings around the world.  I've written about hospitals and clinics in countries like Spain, Portugal, Germany, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and elsewhere that are using development tools, technologies and solutions from Microsoft (and our partners) to meet their need for scalable, intuitive, mobile, modern IT solutions in clinical settings.  These are clinical settings and clinicians that now enjoy improved caregiver communication and collaboration as well as better safety, quality, and satisfaction in the delivery of patient care.

For instance, following a visit to Switzerland last year I posted my observations about the Swiss approach to healthcare IT.  I mused at the time that the Swiss Army Knife was perhaps a good analogy or symbol for how the Swiss do healthcare IT.  They have little interest in the monolithic, inflexible solutions being offered by most vendors.  Instead, they tend to favor open standard, home-grown or best of breed departmental solutions orchestrated by means of a web services architecture.  They also prefer lower-cost, commodity software solutions wherever possible. 

It therefore comes as no surprise that our Swiss team just delivered this new VIDEO about the use of imageWindows Vista, Office 2007, and SharePoint Sever 2007 at the Cantonal Hospital in St. Gallen, Switzerland.  While I admit that this is unabashedly a Microsoft sales and marketing video, I would urge my American clinical colleagues to watch it anyway.  Then ask yourself; "Why aren't we using contemporary tools and technologies like this in American hospitals?"  "Why aren't we upgrading to Windows Vista and using the latest communication and collaboration solutions in our clinic?"  "Why aren't we hearing about this from our IT leadership?"  Indeed, why?

Of course, I know the answer to that question.  Many of you are still using old computers and legacy solutions that are not yet certified to run on, or compatible with contemporary IT infrastructure and applications.  That should prompt another question.  America, how did we let that happen? Weren't we once the best of the best in just about everything?

Sometimes it's good to ask a few questions.  Enjoy the video .

Bill Crounse, MD   Senior Director, Worldwide Health    Microsoft Corporation