On a recent visit to Tennessee, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer participated in a panel discussion (you can see part of the discussion in the video below and more of the discussion here) hosted by the Nashville Health Care Council. Asked a question about how technology can make a difference in health, Ballmer said: “We look at the health care industry and say, ‘It’s not working.’ Yet more than most industries, it is all about information — getting the right information to the right person at the right time.”

He’s exactly right. Real-time, meaningful and comprehensive information is fundamental to improving health care. The right information can sharpen a diagnosis, create better-quality care, pay the right bill, help discover new therapies and more.  But the amount of information generated by clinical research and medical literature is vast and growing rapidly. That challenges the ability of even the most brilliant physician to apply it in a patient care setting. Many major hospitals already have electronic medical records (EMR) systems that collect patient data. But the individual pieces of information are often in different parts of the system — medical history, pharmacy records, lab results — and can be difficult to bring together and analyze. 

At Microsoft, we understand the power and value of computing to deliver greater efficiencies to the delivery of health care. That’s why we’re working with hospitals and other providers to achieve two major goals: First, implement systems that fully digitize patient data; and second, bridge the gap between patient data and the caregivers, so that doctors, nurses, clinicians and others can make informed decisions about patient care.

Together with partners, we are empowering hospitals large and small to take better advantage of their existing IT systems, quickly and cost effectively.  Microsoft Amalga collects data across health IT systems to enhance patient safety, manage hospital functions, and improve efficiency. Customers and partners can also leverage Microsoft’s many technologies to create custom, easy to use solutions that address the individual needs of each provider, whether related to the management of data, the quality of patient care, or connecting disparate members of the care team.

Across the country, our customers have improved processes across their organizations by more easily linking together critical information. Some have modernized the ER check-in process, while others have facilitated collaboration between doctors working in different buildings and even different continents. Whether developed in-house, or by providing our partners the tools to develop new health IT applications, Microsoft is giving hospitals the means necessary to transform the way they do business. 

Posted by Steve Aylward
General Manager, US Healthcare and Life Sciences.