Health Innovation! At the Centre in Australia

WP_20131122_11_11_10_ProAs I wrap up a week-long visit with customers and partners across the East Coast of Australia, it was entirely fitting that we ended up in Melbourne. Melbourne is home to the Australia Centre for Health Innovation located just a block away from the Alfred Hospital which, founded in 1871, is Victoria's oldest hospital operating on its original site. How magnificent it is to have such a juxtaposition of historic and new. The Centre for Health Innovation is leading the way for the appropriate and progressive use of contemporary information communications (ICT) technologies in health and healthcare.

I first visited the Centre not too long after its opening. I wrote about their good work right here WP_20131122_09_47_28_Proon HealthBlog in March of 2011. Today we had the honor of holding a very special event for Microsoft customers and partners at the Centre. It was the perfect setting to talk about ICT and the opportunities for using technology to transform health and healthcare. In fact, as I described following my previous visit in 2011, the Australia Centre for Health Innovation exists to serve as a simulation and test bed facility where health providers can experience and evaluate the latest technologies.  It also provides resources enabling innovators to demonstrate technological solutions that improve patient care.

I was privileged to provide the opening keynote for today's event in which I set the stage for what was to follow. I discussed Microsoft’s focus on mobility and devices, productivity solutions, analytics, and innovation and how our devices and services, often through the extended good work of our customers and partners, enable clinical innovation sometimes in WP_20131122_11_07_57_Provery surprising ways. Following my keynote the audience broke into small groups to explore each of the topic areas in greater detail. One area of focus is what we call the CIE or Customer Immersion Experience where people get a hands-on tutorial showing how all these enabling technologies, devices and services come to life in ways that touch our work and personal lives. It was thrilling to see the enthusiasm from an audience that ranged in age from a young high school student who is visiting as an intern at Microsoft to folks much closer to my own age, and every demographic between the two extremes.

The Australian Centre for Health Innovation is not only a champion for the use of technology in health and healthcare, but a laboratory where healthcare workers and managers can try out differing solutions in a setting that is very familiar because it looks just like many of the areas you would find in a typical hospital.

We engaged in some lively discussion throughout the morning, and I was pleased to hear so many positive comments and ideas for using the technologies, devices, solutions and services we demonstrated to improve health, healthcare and clinical workflow. I often find that some of the best ideas come from our customers. That was certainly true from much of the dialogue at today’s gathering.

Tomorrow morning I’m off to another of my favorite stops in this part of the WP_20131122_10_54_11_Proworld when I fly WP_20131122_11_08_36_Proto New Zealand. There, we’ll be hosting events and meetings in Auckland and Wellington, and finally in Rotorua, the site of this year’s HINZ (Health Informatics New Zealand) conference where I will provide a keynote address on Thursday morning.

A special shout-out to Frank Smolenaers (left), Director of Technology at the Australia Centre for Health Innovation in Melbourne for hosting our gathering today. Extra special thanks to my good  friend and Microsoft colleague, Dr. Simon Kos (right), who not only helped organize our customer and partner visits across Australia, but also served as my driver and tour director along the way.  Simon, you’re the best!

Bill Crounse, MD    Senior Director, Worldwide Health          Microsoft


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