Microsoft moving into the new health economy

Software giant aims to help clinicians with analytics, cloud and mobile tools.
By Rick Cook
07:59 AM

Among the technology stalwarts increasingly populating the HIMMS15 show floor, Microsoft’s message this year is that it is adapting to the shifting forces clinicians are facing.

“The practice of medicine is fundamentally changing from piece work to team work,” said Dennis Schmuland, MD, Microsoft’s chief health strategy officer. “A new health economy is emphasizing frugality, controlling spiraling costs and caring for an aging population.”

Three technology areas that are particularly important to the new healthcare landscape – and are also integral to Microsoft software products – are the proliferation of mobile devices, cloud computing and analytics.

“We live in a mobile-first, cloud-first world,” Schmuland said, “and the healthcare industry has the most to gain from that.”

Mobility is one of the important gains as health care professionals acquire the ability to carry their offices with them on smartphones, tablets and of course the old-fashioned way: laptops.

Schmuland envisions a need for what Microsoft refers to as “clinical grade devices” that adapt to the way clinicians work. On the flip side, patient engagement is blurring lines between care inside and outside traditional hospital and office settings.

“We need to empower consumers with the in-the-moment guidance they need,” Schmuland said, adding that a key technological component of that on both sides of the patient-provider equation is health analytics, thus the need to “make analytics easy for everyone in a context related to the front lines so it can be instantly utilized by an individual in the moment they need it.”

In addition to its products, Microsoft intends to share case studies on the show floor.

“We'll have some stories from customers and partners who will join us in our booth,” Schmuland said.

HIMSS15 attendees can find Microsoft at Booth 1202. The company is also hosting its Microsoft Health Users Group Forum and Innovation Awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 14 in the McCormick Place Hyatt, beginning at 7 a.m.

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