I’ve seen the future and it’s almost here

There are some amazing privileges associated with working for a global technology company like Microsoft. Every day I reflect on how lucky I am. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by so many smart, really dedicated people. I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel the globe and be exposed to exceptional partner companies who consume our technologies and deploy them in innovative solutions to improve health and healthcare. I’m thankful to be able to meet and collaborate with healthcare executives, clinicians, and leaders in government and industry around the world to make healthcare more accessible, to improve the quality of care, and lower the cost. I’m thrilled that long ago I selected a career in medicine and was able to combine my love for both medicine and technology into such a rewarding line of work.

Hold Virtual VisitDoing what I do also provides a kind of crystal ball that lets me look into the future. I get exposed to new inventions and technologies often long before they become available to the general public. I’ve been forecasting all kinds of changes in health and healthcare for many years, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so convinced that the future so many of us have been predicting isn’t really the future anymore, but rather something much closer to reality. You see, it’s no longer technology that holds us back. The technology exists. The remaining challenges, as I detailed in a prior post, are all about people, cultures, and behaviors.

There’s really no reason why the delivery of health information and medical services must be confined to physical facilities like hospitals and clinics. There’s no reason why the best minds in medicine aren’t available for consultations with clinicians and patients almost anywhere in the world. There’s no reason why we shouldn't be expanding the healthcare workforce with people who perhaps have less formal training but are aided by intelligent machines and imagesmart technologies to provide services at a very high level. There’s no reason why we are not using the vast amount of data we are collecting electronically to provide actionable insights for better care. There’s every opportunity today to start using the wisdom of our patients around the world to improve what we do, speed clinical trials and bring new treatments to market.

Yes, there is much to look forward to and definitely much to be thankful about. We live in a world that is full of opportunities to harness the power of existing technologies to meet the health and healthcare needs of people around the world.

As you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, or simply share time with your family no matter where you might live or what you might celebrate, be thankful for what you have, and mindful of those who have far less. Let’s all reflect on the possibilities for technology to make this a better place for everyone.

Bill Crounse, MD     Senior Director, Worldwide Health     Microsoft


Comments (5)

  1. Bob Rudy says:

    It truly is an exciting time for healthcare even though it's not evident yet to most practitioners. With the advent of the U.S. joining the International Classification of Diseases Version 10 or ICD-10-CM/PCS next October 1st, the practice of healthcare will be drastically improved through more detailed and accurate recording of health conditions.

    To get an idea of how the improvement  of the practice of healthcare in the U.S. will look using ICD-10-CM take a look at this sample on Slideshare:  www.slideshare.net/BobRudy

    Note: If you get Error Code 404 when accessing the sample it means your server has a block on SlideShare. If so, you will have to access the sample via mobile or home.

  2. Dude says:

    It's 2014 and we are still aging and dying. Where is the progress?

  3. hlthblog says:


    Well yes, that would be true. However, please note some significant improvements in longevity for both men and women over the last 50 years. Also, imagine a world where we didn't get old and die. Before that happens we better figure out interstellar space travel and start colonies on other planets.  To learn more about the progress that is being made on the longevity front, see the work of  English author and theoretician, Aubrey d de Gray.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  4. Jyotsana says:


    Well yes, that's true. It truly is an exciting time for healthcare. Nice blog

  5. Sheryl Cherico says:

    Dr. Crounse,

    I totally agree with you.  People, culture and behavior are what is holding us back.  As an IT support group for Healthcare, we are faced with the daily challenges of getting practices to use technology.  We are also challenged with practices that have it, and don't know how to use it!

    Thank you for your article.  I enjoyed it.

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