Microsoft health reform actually works

Microsoft health reform actually works

Summary: We increased the time between visits 35-50%," with no reduction in care quality.

TOPICS: Health, Microsoft

Microsoft's vision of health reform is simple. Connect systems so patients can participate in their own care.

That's the idea behind HealthVault, which corporate vice president Peter Neupert insisted at HIMSS yesterday is not a Personal Health Record (PHR) at all but a secure method for creating them, and allowing data patients create to be combined with what their doctors have.

He said this while standing in a small conference room next to incoming HIMSS president C. Martin Harris who delivered results from a project  the Cleveland Clinic performed on over 250 people with chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes.

Some 75% of the nation's health care dollars are going to such chronic conditions, said Harris, who is also CIO of the Clinic.

The Clinic gave patients simple devices to measure their ongoing condition -- scales, blood pressure cuffs, blood sugar monitors -- and taught them their use. This data was combined through HealthVault with what their own Electronic Medical Records (EMR) showed, and alarm conditions were monitored. When called for, doctors called patients and adjusted medications or instructions.

"The process measures were the biggest change we saw," said Harris. "We increased the time between visits 35-50%," with no reduction in care quality.

For those with active heart failure (former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Dick Cheney both fall in that category) office visits went up. "They came into the office rather than the emergency room," he said.

"We can fundamentally rethink how we deliver care to the aging population, delivering care more affordably, and in a way that's consistent with how people live their lives."

Harris cautioned that this is not a study ready for journals. A double-blind trial will come next, with about 1,200 people, testing this active approach against current care. That will then go through peer review before publication.

But the big news, what put a smile on Harris' face, was this new form of care can be ramped-up within months to large populations, because the tools with which to do it all exist.

Neupert and Harris then took questions, each leaning on the side of a small podium (above). They vamped along to reporter queries like a jazz duo.

Neupert admitted that some work needs to be done on client devices. Monitors need to become small enough to be worn comfortably, so patients aren't just checking themselves at home but doing it automatically through the day.

"Patients are extremely mobile," Harris added.

The Clinic will also be looking for a little more proof of concept. "You can manage the present standard of care," with just HealthVault and home monitors, said Harris. "We want to prove this improves outcomes for the patient." He seemed confident they will.

So did Neupert. "We learned a lot of lessons about the dirty quality of the local IT environment and how to get around it. We want to make it something that others can plug in and play."

Topics: Health, Microsoft

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  • MS = FAIL in Health Care

    VERY VERY SCARY THOUGHT that Microsoft anything is in a critical environment like healthcare. It's a tragedy waiting to happen.
    • I agree

      the BSOD will eventually translate in pacient's death.
      Linux Geek
    • Apple should run health care but ...

      Then it would only come in "White" and it would cost 10 times what it does today. After being branded on your forhead with the logo everyone would gladly pay for it. Technically it would be just as insecure as the MS version but as it's an Apple solution nobody would admit it, even though it's fundamentally the same care. All healthcare offices would also sell Mac/iPhones/iPods and of course, be all white, and medication would be ordered through iTunes rebanded as iMeds.
      • And of course, iMeds would be buggy as hell for the 90% of us using Windows

        Windows users will be dropping off like flies while they try to order their meds...
        • Won't bother me then

          I don't use Windows, so in fact it won't be available to me at all.
          tracy anne
    • Funny, I've seen MS used in Hospitals

      for years. And banks, businesses large and small.
      No tragedies. Just people getting more for less.

      But I suppose MS being successful is a tragedy for
      you. Kind of pathetic.
      • "But I suppose MS being successful is a tragedy...

        for you." - Yes it is.
    • Apparently the above research disagree's with

      that well thought and thorough analysis you provided.
  • OS X has already been "downsized" for mobility


    Lots of developers (some even in the medical field) and it
    seems to be rather simple for users to learn.

    Apple has already developed the OS to interact with
    devices, like a BP Cuff and it's simply a matter of waiting
    for the products.

    That, of course, assumes that MS is giong to have formats
    that can be used by the consumer/patient on devices that
    they now have, or prefer. With tens of millions of iPhones
    and touches and (soon) iPads out there is it realistic to
    spend the money to try and get them to carry more
  • RE: Microsoft health reform actually works

    Baby steps. This is going to revolutionize medical care. Not next year or even in 5 years, bur it will change the way medical care works and how patients interface.

    To all the Microsoft haters - please just let this one alone. It's a good thing.
    • There is opportunity for a lot of people here

      Microsoft says they want to see better devices on the client side. That's an opportunity. They're not branding the PHRs to HealthVault -- that's an opportunity for hospitals or insurers.

      There are lots of opportunities here for many people to both make money and save money using technology. The fact that Microsoft proved the concept just means the concept is proven, not that Microsoft makes all the money or runs healthcare.
  • Did you guys read the article?

    My god, did any of you actually read the article, or did you just see the word Microsoft and immediately decide to either attack or defend based on your like or dislike of the company! What they are talking about is a system for keeping your health records, lowering costs on the record keeping side of the equation. This has nothing to do with critical care equipment (BTW, some hospital patient monitoring systems have been running on some form of Windows for years).

    This product allows you, personally, to monitor certain aspects of your health, record the results, and share that with your physician. You can take a more active role in your own health while still having backup and input from a health professional. This will lower your costs by lowering the number of doctor visits required.

    Despite my dislike of MS and many of their policies and products, I think this is a good idea.

    • Master Joe Says...Hokey Pokey

      That's what it's all about.

      Anytime Microsoft is mentioned, someone has to be the first to come out and claim that it will be a failure. The reason? Jealousy. It's the fact that you could combine every Apple and Linux user together and still be a tiny spec in the middle of all Microsoft users. It's that Linux has no place in the consumer or enterprise, other than on servers, and even that has windows competition. It's being unwilling to admit that paying mroe for your computer doesn't make it better (Apple). It's living in the past. It's a complete forfeit of your credibility. Anyone who says "It's Microsoft. Therefore, it's a failure." loses every ounce of credibility to me. Frankly, I don't think people like that deserve a seat at the discussion table. They can go sit at the kids' table, until they learn to grow up. Closed-minded people don't belong in technology because technology does not stay the same. It changes. And, it offers variety and choices. For those who choose nto to use Microsoft, they spend more time than anyone ever should bashing the company they choose not to use. Jealousy and envy can be the only explanation for that. If they weren't jealous ro envious, they would go about their own operating system, office suite, mobile platform, search engine, etc., and leave it at that. But, the animosity that is always there against Microsoft only suggests to me we have a bunch of jealous, whiny, uneducated, closed-minded little kids, who, unfortunately, have too big a say in the tech industry, and make the rest of us look bad. They have an agenda, and will push that agenda on anyone and everyone they can. If they are a network admin in a school, they will implement the operating system, mobile device policy, office suite, and others that they see fit, regardless of what is best for the school, students, faculty, and staff. If you were a windows person, and you chose to do that, you would be ridiculed by those people. If you were to do this with Linux or Mac, you would be praised as if you did something heroic. Sad, but true.

      --Master Joe
  • RE: Microsoft health reform actually works

    MS is on the right track by placing the patient in charge of the patients medical records. See ( for virtual desktop technology that coupled with MS's software solves the rest of the problem.
    • Good example

      Sychron is just one of many companies that can take opportunities from what Microsoft is doing here.
  • Microsoft's "open platform" ???

    Well, the formats of the data records are "open"... but only as used in this context. The low-level source code WITHIN the platform remains Microsoft's secret sauce.

    I agree that in comparison to most Health Care IT systems, this is an improvement. But with TRULY open systems managing health record storage and retrieval in organizations of nearly all sizes, why do these decision makers keep choosing between different proprietary systems, getting trapped over and over again, wasting BILIONS of dollars?

    For example: The United States DOD, all by itself, has invested several $B in a new system over the last few years, and it doesn't yet come close to the reliability and features of the Veteran's Administration Health system ("VISTA"). VISTA is already built; all that SecDef Rumsfeld needed to do was make the [i]right[/i] decision, and then invest far less money to make VISTA meet all of their needs for rapidly-changing battlefield situations.

    The Indian Health Service uses VISTA, as does NASA. As do large numbers of public and private Health Provider organizations-- even in other Countries, such as Germany. They all chose VISTA because [u]THE CODE[/u] is open, and they can modify it to meet their needs. Why did DOD do differently? I can only imagine that it's because new Generals can be "crowned"; and revolving doors can be opened (by handing $Billions of public money to the contractors).

    Yes, you can create new "Apps" for HealthVault, but Microsoft keeps the platform fundamentals secret. THIS IS NOT THE KIND OF "VAULT" WE NEED.

    VISTA isn't the only superior alternative, either: There are many, many fantastic EHR systems, in which the code is GPL and LGPL. And they can be used within provider settings of all sizes: From single clinics, through large hospitals and associated clinic scattered in a single metropolitan setting; all the way up to the entire VA.

    Why does "secret" code nearly always win? It's because the money which pays for the golf outings and other enormous marketing expenses comes from sick people, and from taxpayers. The Health Company administrators and software salespeople win; the ultimate payers get stuck with the excessive bills.
    Rick S._z
    • VISTA is outstanding

      I saw your post and was reminded that I needed to get in and refill a
      Rx - took 2 minutes and the meds will arrive in the mail this week.

      There is, however, room for improvement on the patient side of VISTA.
      I can't log in and review or print the results of various lab tests,
      reports from imaging like x-rays (or the images themselves) or
      patient notes.

      There also needs to be a viable communications link in the system for
      sending or receiving notes to/from Doctors. My VA Doc tells me to
      fax or mail stuff as the email system isn't that great. Something needs
      to be built into VISTA.

      As for Rumsfeld, when did he ever make a smart decision?
  • RE: Microsoft health reform actually works

    This is a nice concept and I see it being a real benefit to the health care industry. The funny thing is, who wrote and is currently writing the OS for MAC? Hint: it is the same person who owns Microsoft or it is under the influence of Microsoft. Gates bailed out MAC years ago to keep MAC as competition so he would not get charged for having a monopoly. In this agreement MAC agreed to allow Gates to write the OS systems for MAC. This is why various hard ware and software is now compatible with MAC that used to be only used on MS PCs.