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Latest Microsoft Venture Spotlights Healthcare Trends, Technologies
By Elizabeth S. Roop

Microsoft staked yet another claim in the healthcare space with the November 10 launch of Health Tech Today, an online video series that explores industry trends, innovations, and success stories. By focusing on healthcare technology and IT innovations, organizational efficiencies, and health and wellness, the monthly series is designed to appeal primarily to business and technical decision makers in the healthcare industry, government, and public health.

“A lot of what we’re talking about comes from my own observations while traveling the world,” says Bill Crounse, MD, creator, host, and executive producer of Health Tech Today. “If you come at it from a strictly U.S. perspective, you can get in the mode where you think that it’s only what is going on in the U.S. that’s important or that only the U.S. is having this particular problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. The healthcare world is flat; everyone is consumed with the same issues.”

To that end, the premier episode includes “thought-leader” interviews with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on how e-health can improve access to healthcare and Don Detmer, MD, president and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association, on the need for stronger communication and collaboration solutions in clinical workflow. Also featured is a case study on Seattle’s Virginia Mason Medical Center during which Medical Director Kim Pettinger, MD, discusses how adopting the efficient production line system of Toyota has transformed the patient experience.

Innovation profiles include Andrew Cull, an active tactical/remote site paramedic who founded Remote Medical International, which delivers global emergency medical services; Chris Otto, cofounder, president, and CEO of Halo Monitoring, creator of myHalo, which offers around-the-clock vital sign and activity monitoring using body sensor technologies; and Cornelia Rulan, PhD, creator of SiSom, an interactive video game that gives sick children a voice in their treatment and aids physicians with care decisions.

“This is a very typical lineup,” says Crounse, who is also Microsoft’s senior director of worldwide health. “We offer a mixture of both [case studies and issues coverage] in every program. The thought-leader segments will include everyone from politicians and industrialists to clinicians and CIOs [chief information officers]. We take a look at what’s going on each month and try to anticipate” the emerging trends and innovations.

Future episodes will include a case study on NewYork-Presbyterian’s use of a new patient portal to improve collaboration and patient access to care and information and an interview with Jay Parkinson, MD, one of the founders of HelloHealth, a primary care practice platform that helps physicians communicate, document, and transact with their patients in person and online. Parkinson shares his insights into barriers to e-health adoption, emerging business models, and next-generation physicians who are embracing both traditional bricks-and-mortar healthcare and e-health.

Crounse says the idea for Health Tech Today is something he has been working on for several years and is a natural extension of his 18 years as a television physician-journalist. Though the series is sponsored by Microsoft (future sponsorships will be open to other organizations) and designed to spotlight its healthcare technologies and initiatives, the broader purpose is to profile the innovations and advances taking place in health information and communication technologies.

“It was my desire to bring together everything that’s going on in health information and communication technologies around the world in a way that is very compelling and interesting,” he says. “There is so much going on in health and healthcare right now. We wanted to aggregate it all in one place and create a show that will be of interest even to consumers.”

— Elizabeth S. Roop is a Tampa, Fla.-based freelance writer specializing in healthcare and HIT.