Healthcare gets WIRED

WOHIT 12-9-07 005No, this isn't another story about Unified Communications, cellular phones, or even healthcare's most wired hospitals.  It's about a keynote address I attended this morning at the World Healthcare Innovation and IT Congress in Washington, D.C., at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. WOHIT 12-9-07 003

I find myself in the "other Washington" for the second time in the same week.  I'm came here to participate in a panel discussion this morning that was moderated by Dr. David Brailer, former ONCHIT head honcho and now founder of Health Evolution Partners.  Other panelists included Dr. Jonathan Perlin, former medical leader of the VA and now Chief Medical Officer for Hospital Corporation of America, and Dr. Jeffrey Gruen, Chief Medical Officer for Revolution Health.  The panel addressed the topic of "The Technological Tipping Point for Healthcare--Who Will Lead the Next Revolution?"

WOHIT 12-9-07 007 While our panel was interesting with diverse thoughts and opinions from some leading companies, I was more enamored by the keynote that preceded our's.  It was delivered by Kevin Kelly, Co-founder and Senior Maverick of "Wired Magazine".  Mr. Kelly, who is known for his keen ability to look into the future and predict what will happen, shared what he believes are 4 mega trends that will shape our world over the next decade.  Since I spend a lot of my time thinking about the future as it applies to healthcare information technology and healthcare trends, I was naturally curious to hear how Mr. Kelley's trends aligned with mine.

image Kevin Kelley sums up his 4 mega trends as GLOBAL, YOU, DO, and OPENGLOBAL is all about the Internet and how all of our machines are really just one gigantic machine. In essence, we are referring to what has essentially become the worldwide computer; always on, always connected, and always available.  YOU is the reality that nobody is as smart as everybody.  In a world where we are increasingly connected, we are the web and the web is us.  We now have an agent for collective intelligence.  This leads to user driven innovation as an outcome of the network effect of social networking.  Even doctors (Sermo) and patients (Patients Like Me) have their own social networks.

DO refers to the phenomenon of everything we know moving from products to services.  This includes everything from music and other forms of entertainment to healthcare and electronic medical records.  Everything becomes data on the worldwide computer; not only a data base of information but a data base of all things.  Essentially, Mr. Kelley believes we are moving to a time when if something doesn't exist on the web, it simply doesn't exist.

The final global mega trend is OPEN.  In a world where information and all things exist on the web, attention becomes the only scarcity.  Since everything can be copied, value comes from providing services that cannot be copied; services that are immediate, personalized, authentic, and customized to the individual.

Mr. Kelly said we all need to get better at believing the impossible.  If that is the case, then surely there is hope for our ailing healthcare industry. Many say that a solution to our mess in healthcare is impossible. Today I learned that the impossible not only happens, but is evident all around us.

Bill Crounse, MD       Senior Director, Worldwide Health    Microsoft Corporation

Comments (8)

  1. HealthBlog by Bill Crounse, MD, a new (at least to me) health care IT blog to follow. Dr. Crounse is the Worldwide Health Director for Microsoft.

  2. Mike Magee says:


    I really enjoyed reading this piece on the mega-trends; Global, You, Do and Open. In so many ways, our Health IT Leaders have become our Transformational leaders.

    One area that interests me is applications – specifically "killer applications" that trigger transformative change. Craig Barrett from Intel spoke about their investment in R&D for applications, not to sell applications, but to increase future demand for Intel chips.

    This got me thinking about the predictable actions of individuals, even those who support the status-quo, when confronted with a "killer application" that attracts engagement. Two examples, the first a "what-if". Suppose on every Microsoft operating system there was a Lifespan Planning Record (LPR) that allowed an individual to begin planning for a child’s health prior to conception and extending 100 years out, to include the bereavment of survivors on that individual’s death; and suppose that application was easy, entertaining, partially automated with embedded target dates for immunizations, cancer screenings, etc.; and suppose it could embed one’s Family History and (in the future) his or her genomic data; and suppose it could draw in automatically one’s medical data and beef it up with appropriate search information from clinical research and professional and consumer databases; and finally, suppose its use was as ubiguitous as the use of Microsoft Word – wouldn’t that one application, in and of itself transform our health care system?

    The second – a real life example – the iPhone. Through September 1.4 million had been sold compared to a projected 12 million mobile units outfitted in 2007 with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system. In November, the 1.4 million iPhones were responsible for .09% of all web pages viewe compared to the 12 million plus Microsoft unite >06% of Web page views. I mention these figures only to support my belief that the iPhone approach is a "killer application" which I expect will soon become standard operating procedure for all mobiles. Of greater import is the busted mythology that mobile system  that browse the web would be too complex, too unfriendly, and too difficult to rely on. So here’s question 2. Could this killer application, mobile, accessible to seniors and their multi-generational families, become the tranformative home platform for the Lifespan Planning Record (LPR)?


  3. hlthblog says:


    Thanks for writing.  Indeed, the reason we launched HealthVault was to provide a platform where an entire range of services like the ones you propose could reside.  HealthVault is a place where health organizations, physicians, medical device manufactuers, wellness centers, and others can provision information and services in a secure and trusted environment.  You are also correct that the SmartPhone, iPhone and other mobile devices will play an increasingly greater role in connecting people to health information and services, including personalized tele-health and tele-medicine applications.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  4. eHealth says:

    This is the title of a conference held by the National Cancer Institute at which Bill Crounse of Microsoft and Adam Boswoth presented. Crounse gave a vision of the future including wireless, seamless medical consultation while decrying underinvestment

  5. The Alchemist says:


    Thank you for believing in the impossible.  Fixing healthcare is not impossible as obviously you and I believe.  Ubiquitous Communications between physician, patient and community of healthcare providers is the first step in providing a doable solution.  What I do know, if you communicate something of true value to me, I will reciprocate and respond.  The trick in healthcare IT today is to communicate something of unmitigated value that the healthcare industry will overwhelmingly respond.

    Gone forever should the words and phrases such as, “where’s the patient’s chart, what is the patient’s pre-op potassium, which limb is undergoing the procedure today, is this drug counter indicated, ad nauseum…{reserved for things you want answers}  The pattern here is questions in search of simple answers.   I also believe, “love them or hate them,” Microsoft’s entry into healthcare is just the impetus needed q 24 hrs for velocity in changing healthcare.

    Bill, you are doing a relentless job of communicating something of value to me. So that makes two of us that believe.  "Tear down the bricks and motar mentality and build an IT infrastructure."

    The Alchemist

  6. Daniel says:

    Great article!

    Anyway check out this website, the site brings down the price point for health professionals so they can focus on care and not the high expenses of software for practice management:

  7. Sujeet says:

    Very much true. I think Healthcare worldwide will be very much benefited with the openess, social netwroking and ubiquitous availability of information.

    It will be a dream come true

Skip to main content