The view from my room high atop the Bella Sky Comwell Hotel pretty much symbolizes what my past two days have been like at the World of Health IT Conference in Copenhagen – whirlwind. Well, actually the view is of a gigantic wind turbine that supplies power to the Copenhagen Congress Center, the location for this year’s WoHIT eHealth Week Conference. The Bella Sky Hotel is a work of art as much as it is a place to stay. The 23 story, topsy-turvy twin towers of the hotel bring new meaning to the term Danish contemporary. And no, that is not an optical illusion created by my camera. The hotel towers really are built that way, as if they are about to crumble and fall apart.
One nice thing about WoHIT is that the human scale of the conference is far more manageable than what one typically experiences at the annual HIMSS conference in the US. However, just as is always the case at HIMSS, my two day agenda at WoHIT was jam-packed with activities. There was no time for jet lag here!
I hit the ground running on Tuesday by doing video interviews with a select group of Microsoft partners. First up was IMATIS with a demonstration of their touch based Silverlight solution for patient flow visualization and logistics. The application brings together clinical data and images from disparate systems to provide clinicians with a very intuitive and comprehensive view of each patient under their care. I spoke with a physician user who absolutely loved being able to see everything he needed to know about his patients on a single, large touch screen display. Next up was a conversation with Hans Mulder, CEO of ChipSoft. The company’s CS-EHIS.NET solution is a fully integrated information and workflow management system for healthcare organizations. Now in its 26th year, ChipSoft serves more than 85 healthcare organizations in Europe including hospitals, nursing homes, mental healthcare institutions and private clinics. The number of users at each healthcare center ranges from just a few to more than 10,000 within some of the university hospitals on the system. I also spent some time visiting Bill Davenhall, global manager for worldwide health at ESRI. Bill provided an update on his company’s terrific geographic information visualization solutions that are giving new insights to population health and chronic diseases including tools to help manage pandemics, environmental contamination, and other emergencies. Their ArcGIS web based cloud solution uses Microsoft SQL Server and business analytic tools, Silverlight, and Microsoft Office. I finished the interview series with Andrew Graley, EMEA health director for Polycom. Andrew told me about the explosive growth of his company’s telehealth and telemedicine solutions using Microsoft Lync 2010. These video interviews will be posted on various web sites following WoHIT. I’ll provide links when they become available.
In addition to meeting with customers and partners, we also hosted an executive dinner event where I facilitated a lively debate on the meaning of innovation in heath and healthcare. I also hosted a focus group session and provided an industry keynote at WoHIT.
Last evening we wrapped things up by sponsoring, along with a few other organizations, a special reception that was hosted by the US Embassy in Copenhagen. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Ambassador Laurie Fulton and learning a bit about her Danish heritage and the history of the beautiful embassy residence. George Halvorson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente was honored at the event. WoHIT organizers also announced the winners of an eHealth competition for aspiring new companies. Seven semifinalists were highlighted and the winning entry was a company called Senseye. They’ve developed software that allows users to interact with their mobile device just by looking at it. You can activate the screen, scroll websites as you read and even play games using only your eyes! They have all kinds of ideas for applying this natural user interface to navigate the Metro style tiles on the next generation of devices running Windows 8 including slate tablets.
Like I said, WoHIT was a whirlwind or maybe even a tornado. I just hope I can get some sleep on the flight back home.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft