I've written before on HealthBlog about the importance of providing data input options in IT solutions for clinicians. Expecting busy practitioners to document everything using only a keyboard isn't practical. I've also stressed the importance of mobility in healthcare IT solutions. If an application doesn't extend to mobile scenarios and mobile devices, its use in healthcare is limited. No wonder I'm so enthusiastic about a new solution from Microsoft partner IQMax. Their latest browser-based applications leverage Wi-Fi and cellular broadband networks so caregivers can stay connected to clinical information no matter where they happen to be. Available modules include solutions for rounding, charge capture, prescription writing, and perhaps most importantly, clinical dictation. Yes, you can dictate clinical notes, discharge summaries and consultations on your mobile phone while on the go and keep everything in synch! And least you think I only plug solutions that work exclusively on the Microsoft platform, let me assure you that the IQMax solution will work on a wide array of cellular phones, PDA's and Internet-enabled devices regardless of operating system. To learn more, check out the great video demo on their web site.
Another partner I want to mention is a company called 4PatientCare. They have some elegant solutions to help clinician offices manage and automate appointment scheduling, reminders, and other front-office functions using a combination of Microsoft Unified Communications and speech technologies. 4PatientCare (whose web site notes that their name and site will be changing) provides voice and web-enabled patient scheduling, voice-enabled appointment reminders and recalls, and voice-enabled clinical data acquisition. It is this last functionality and the intelligent decision support behind it that make 4PatientCare particularly interesting. You can learn more here.
Later today I fly to Australia for visits with customers, partners, and press in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. I've noted before that the Australians are doing some pretty cool work using IT in healthcare. I'll be reporting on my adventures and observations right here on HealthBlog, so please stay tuned.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft Corporation