Information Technology: New Horizons in Health Care

Brandenburg GateThis week I’ve been in Berlin, Germany, to speak at the World Health Summit 2010.  Yesterday, I participated in a panel discussion and press conference at the Summit which is being held at Charite’ Berlin, the largest public hospital system in Europe.  Our panel topic was Information Technology:  New Horizons in Health Care.  The panel was chaired by my colleague Dr. Edward Shortliffe, President and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association.  Other participants included Balazs Szarthmary, senior director, global health strategy & operations healthcare and life sciences, Oracle Corporation; Andreas Demetriades, director general, health insurance organization, Cyprus; and Dr. Deborah Peel, founder and chair, Patient Privacy Rights Foundation.

Dr. Shortliffe reminded the audience that the goal of IT must be to improve health, improve healthcare and lower healthcare costs.  Mr. Szathmary provided some tips on how to successfully manage IT projects.  Ideally, he said, the optimal IT project is “big enough to justify the development of software and processes and reach the required economies of scale”.  He also noted, among other things, that “bottom-up project approaches involving all stakeholders promise better results than centrally planned top-down project management”. Mr. Demetriades shared his experience in designing and developing an integrated IT system for a single payor in Cyprus that resulted in a successful e-Record for citizens.  Dr. Peel raised awareness of the importance of patient privacy in all matters pertaining to the storage of electronic health data and the risks associated with security breaches.  She firmly advocates that patients must have control over their data and how it is shared or used by others.  My role on the panel was to discuss how IT is transforming the health industry.  I shared some of my thoughts on how IT can be applied to bend the cost curve in healthcare with a few observations and recommendations pertaining to both the supply side and demand side of the industry.

Summit Dinner

The day ended last evening with a spectacular dinner at the German Historical Museum.  The setting was absolutely stunning.  I must compliment Summit organizers for putting on a truly memorable experience including great food and entertainment.

HealthTech_Logo_MAIN_WMS Logo_v2

Finally, I would like to remind you that the second program in our weekly on-line video series, Microsoft Health Tech Today, has now been posted for your viewing pleasure.  If you want to see some cool mobile devices designed with healthcare workers (and the environment they work in) in mind, be sure to check it out 

Bill Crounse, MD                 Senior Director, Worldwide Health              Microsoft

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