Healthcare-technology specialists have gathered in Orlando, Fla., for HIMSS 2008, this year’s installment of the Health Information Management and Systems Society’s annual IT conference. which draws major healthcare providers, health technology vendors, industry luminaries. Following the 2007 HIMSS keynote address by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft in the last year has made several big moves toward addressing its vision for the industry. PressPass spoke with Steve Shihadeh, general manager for Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, and Steve Aylward, general manager for Microsoft’s U.S. Health and Life Sciences Group, about what Microsoft is doing to help improve health around the world.
PressPass: What are some of the common issues facing today’s health care system?
Aylward: It’s been written about over the last year and, of course, discussed quite a bit given our upcoming elections, but an underlying issue in healthcare is that it’s still very paper-based. Technology solutions for healthcare providers simply haven’t been as convenient or reliable as old-fashioned charts. Of course, information that is digital is often buried in siloed, proprietary systems that aren’t easy to access and often don’t integrate well with one another.
Add to the mix that consumers are now taking a more active role in their healthcare and demanding that providers and plans communicate to them in new ways – driven by the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies – and it becomes fairly clear that a sea change is taking place in the industry. When looking at the issues facing health care today, it becomes clear that a company like Microsoft can help solve many of these issues through integration and industry partner network. The familiarity of Microsoft technology can really help healthcare organizations and governments – the largest healthcare providers in the world – to increase the efficiency and accuracy, and thereby reduce errors, in utilizing their existing technologies.
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