This week brought me to the nation’s capitol to keynote at a health industry conference. Following that, I met with White House national security and public safety officials at the White House Conference Center. Speaking at a conference is something I do all the time. Meeting with White House staff is not. I’ll explain how that happened later.
The industry conference for my keynote was WHIT 6.0.– a conference in which I have participated several times in the past. This particular meeting is known as the annual World Healthcare Innovation and Technology Congress. I must say attendance was down this year. That may have been due to timing. The mHealth Summit was held in D.C. over the same time period as WHIT and featured headliner speakers including Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates. I jokingly told the audience at WHIT that they would have to make due with Dr. Bill. None-the-less, it was a good event and I thoroughly enjoyed some of the lively discussion on health reform, the impact of midterm elections, and progress to date on EMR and HIE implementations. While I’m seeing progress in getting US physicians to adopt electronic medical records, we are still far short of where we need to be. I’m encouraged to see a number of vendors offering cloud-based solutions that are much more affordable, easier to implement and easier to use than what has been previously available. That is good news especially for small physician practices, which by the way, make up about 80 percent of the US market.
I mentioned on HealthBlog several weeks ago that I had participated in the Washington Ideas Forum sponsored by The Atlantic and The Aspen Institute. While there I met Dr. Richard Hatchett, a physician oncologist who is serving our nation in the Executive Branch of government. After a casual conversation about some of the things Microsoft is doing in health around the world, Dr. Hatchett invited me to meet with him and other members of his staff the next time I came to DC. Hence, yesterday afternoon’s meeting across the street from the White House.
Over the course of an hour, my federal healthcare colleague, Gary Brummell, and I shared information with Dr. Hatchett and other staff including his boss (Brian Kamoie, Senior Director for Preparedness Policy, National Security Staff) about some of the public health, public safety and security initiatives we’ve been engaged in around the world. By the end of the meeting I think we all saw opportunities where we might collaborate to develop more effective, less costly and much more citizen-centric approaches to everything from how we respond to natural and manmade disasters to outbreaks of disease. It was a terrific dialogue that I hope we will be able to continue. We even talked about possible health-related scenarios for Xbox Kinect beyond gaming.
I’m writing and posting this from 37,000 feet. Remember when flying was our only respite from being connected with the outside world? No more! And so it goes……..
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft