It feels like the past two days in Budapest, Hungary, have gone by in the blink of an eye; in this case a somewhat droopy, red and tired pair of eyes. Let me start with a gigantic thank you to the many customers, partners, clinicians, EU officials, press and others who engaged with me and my Microsoft colleagues during the World of Health IT (WoHIT). I always come away from these events feeling like I learned more from you than you probably learned from me. Thanks to those of you who participated in today’s focus group session. It was rewarding to have so many clinicians in the audience. Thanks especially to the standing-room-only audience who attended my keynote this afternoon. Frankly, on the third day of the conference with my keynote scheduled right before lunch, I wasn’t expecting such a big turnout.
Thanks also to the EU officials, customers and partners who attended last evening’s executive dinner held at the XO Bistro. The food was amazing and the conversation even better. It was a wonderful venue for our team to catch up with visionary leaders such as Pēteris Zilgalvis (pictured left),Head of Unit ICT for the European Commission and Nicole Denjoy, Secretary General of the European Coordination Committee of the Radiological Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry (COCIR). The EU has made a commitment to provide every citizen with electronic access to their health information by 2015. While some hurdles remain (more political than technological), I ‘m confident that goal will be realized.
We had plenty of visitors to our Microsoft stand in the exhibition center at WoHIT. It was great to see some partners there who don’t often get to display their good work. I enjoyed learning about a solution developed in Russia that displays clinical information in a very intuitive, linear fashion. Congratulations to Dr. Nikita Shkolovskiy-Kordi and his colleagues and thanks for the stimulating conversation over dinner. Thanks also to Tomasz Szelagowski whose organization, The European Patients Forum, is championing the voice of the patient in driving better health in Europe. Tomasz is an anthropologist by training and has a passion for celebrating everything good in life. I found his positive attitude to be highly infectious.
Conference organizers are already planning next year’s WoHIT event to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. I wonder by then how much closer we’ll be toward realizing the goal of an always accessible, truly transportable and secure, electronic health record for all EU citizens? I’ll bet closer than many people might think.
If you understand Hungarian, here’s a link to more information about my observations at WoHIT.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft