Regular followers of this blog may recall that last year about this same time I reported on a big event we held in Brussels. It was a gathering of customers, partners, developers, clinicians, and EU government officials who came together to discuss “Embracing Cloud Computing in Health and Wellness”. The venue was the elegant Concert Nobel, a Louis XVI decorated building dating back to 1785. (Viewers of television’s Amazing Race may recall from this season that the Brussels “body building” episode was taped in the same location). I have fond memories of that visit to Brussels not only because of the stellar event we held, but it was also during the Christmas season. My hotel room overlooked a village square where every evening I could watch ice skaters, mostly young couples and children, enjoying themselves on the ice.
This year we held a follow-up event in Brussels. Although I was unable to attend, my colleagues inform me that it was even better and bigger than last year. This year’s theme focused around a recently published document, “Manifesto for an eHealthier Europe”. In that document we explore why now, despite the challenges to our global economies, it is not the time to reduce investments in better health. We make the point that better health is everybody’s business and urge policy makers to: Accelerate the adoption of technologies that have proven value and benefits in order to reach scale; Reinvest savings in research, innovation, reduction of public debt and local growth and employment; and Not simply cut costs, but focus on policies for sustainable health.
My Microsoft colleagues tell me that this year’s event was lively with discussions that included high profile conversations with the likes of US Ambassador to the EU William E. Kennard and Minister of Health for Cyprus, Dr Stavros Malas. The Manifesto was formally presented to John Dalli, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy for the European Commission, and Antonyia Parvanova, member of the European Parliament. Both spoke highly of Microsoft’s initiative in bringing this Manifesto and the event surrounding it together. It was a wonderful opportunity to elevate conversations in health and set the stage to truly deliver on the promise of “real impact for better health”. It was also an opportunity for many of our customers and partners to demonstrate how technology is being used to boost access to care while improving quality and lowering costs.
If you would like to read a copy of the “Manifesto for an eHealthier Europe”, you’ll find it here. I would especially like to thank members of our Microsoft worldwide health team Niels Solberg, Elena Bonfiglioli and John Vassallo for their dedication and hard work in making this year’s event such a success. I would also like to thank Neil Jordan, WW Health GM, for his contributions and participation in this year’s event. Well done team!
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft