I'm writing this entry from the World of Health IT (WOHIT) conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The conference got underway early Tuesday morning. Yesterday, I was privileged to deliver the opening keynote at a Physician Symposium pre-conference that was held at nearby Herlev Hospital. This 700 bed teaching hospital occupies the tallest building in Denmark. At 25 stories it is also the 4th tallest hospital in the world. The title of my presentation was "How Commodity IT and the Net are Changing Medical Practice".
Later in the morning hospital staff demonstrated several full scale medical simulations in their "IT Exploratorium". This high-tech computer simulation training lab hosts 13 rooms on the top floor of the hospital. It is used extensively by clinical staff and medical residents at Herlev to learn new skills and practice procedures in a risk-free environment. Afternoon sessions at the Symposium included a panel discussion reviewing different perspectives across Europe on the Personal Health Record. Also yesterday afternoon, Microsoft held a special customer and partner event where more than 150 participants learned about some of our newest and most compelling solutions for the health industry.
Speaking of things that are new; one of the highlights of the WOHIT conference and exhibition was the official unveiling of Panasonic's Toughbook H1 Mobile Clinical Assistant. I first hinted about the H1 on HealthBlog last month when I had an opportunity to keynote at a Panasonic customer event in San Diego. At that event the company had a few pre-production models of the H1 for people to see. But now comes the official release and its generating lots of excitement. What's of most interest to me is not so much the device itself (although it is pretty cool). I'm pleased that the OEM community is finally realizing that healthcare is different from other industries and that healthcare workers need devices that are specially built to meet the unique requirements of patient care. You'll recall that Motion Computing was the first manufacturer to release a device, the Motion C5, based on Intel's MCA design criteria. Now Panasonic joins the line-up, with a device that is sure to please. It is rugged, ergonomically pleasing, comes standard with Windows Vista Business edition SP1, and because of it's Intel Atom processor provides up to 6 hours of battery life.
Microsoft EMEA Health Users Group
Other big news at WOHIT is the announcement by Microsoft and The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) concerning a broad expansion of the Microsoft Health Users Group (Microsoft-HUG) to partners and health care providers throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Initially, Microsoft HUG EMEA will exist as an on-line community, hosted as part of the existing Microsoft HUG website. The site will include content, discussion groups and E-seminars from thought leaders in both the Healthcare and IT industries. The web launch is an ideal way for members in the region to access information and gain familiarity with a broad array of services offered by the Microsoft HUG organization. You can find out more here.
Tomorrow morning, I head back to Redmond, but the rest of the team will be staying on in Copenhagen. If you plan to visit WOHIT, please drop by the Microsoft booth and say "hello". While there, you can enter a drawing to win your very own Panasonic H1 Mobile Clinical Assistant.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft Corporation