Forget Nimda: Microsoft Wants to Battle Real Infections Now
Microsoft also inked a new joint marketing agreement with
Microsoft’s announcements, including one tool aimed at specifically dreaded sepsis infections, were among the key events on the first full day of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2008 Conference & Exhibition here. HIMSS draws some 25,000 healthcare IT professionals annually to hear about developments in electronic health records, hospital administration, diagnostic, security, and compliance technologies.
Microsoft officials here are expressing the belief that the complex healthcare industry--with its slim margins, tight budgets and lofty administrative costs—is ripe for the efficiencies technology can offer. But even as healthcare executives perused the latest wares in
According to Modern Healthcare's annual survey on key IT issues, released today, IT spending by hospitals and physicians is expected to rise only slightly in 2008 as healthcare providers hold out for federal financial assistance before adopting the latest technologies.
Some18 percent of the 145 healthcare executives polled said their healthcare organizations will spend between 2.6 percent and 3 percent of their total operating budget on IT in 2008. That’s up just slightly over the 2.5 percent reported last year.
A whopping 58 percent said they felt adopting an electronic health record systems was a top priority, but the more than 86 percent of those respondents said the government should subsidize the cost of EHR systems at hospitals.
“The survey results support what we hear anecdotally from healthcare providers,” said Modern Healthcare Editor David Burda in announcing the survey results. “But if they're waiting for the federal government to act, they may be waiting a long time given the government's other federal budget priorities.”
The dismal forecast, however, hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of Microsoft and other vendors unveiling technology innovations here, many of which are aimed not only at the business of healthcare, but real-world issues of illness and disease as well.
For example, Microsoft’s new Patient Safety Screening Tool (PSST), is a software-based solution designed to help healthcare organizations identify the myriad adverse events that can occur during hospitalization. The first available PSST module keeps watch over hospital in-patient to guard against sepsis, the often deadly infection that strikes some 750,000 patients in the
“Reducing mortality due to severe sepsis requires an organized process that guarantees the early recognition of the infection, along with the uniform and consistent application of the best evidence-based practices,” said Chris Sullivan, industry solutions director for Microsoft’s Health and Life Sciences Group, in a statement. “The Patient Safety Screening Tool for Sepsis can help save lives by monitoring clinical data inputs and dispatching alerts and reminders based on predefined thresholds and pattern matching to facilitate early detection and intervention.”
Microsoft and AOI officials say the tool can not only save lives, but significantly reduce the $16.7 billion
“Even with the years of specialized training physicians receive, it is challenging to see patterns in clinical data amid chaos," said Dr. John Barwise, assistant professor of anesthesiology and neurosurgery at the
“While the initial focus with PSST is early detection of severe sepsis, the tool is flexible to allow for future modules such as
The Patient Safety Screening Tool is part of the Microsoft Connected Health Framework Architecture and Design Blueprint--a vendor-agnostic attempt to address healthcare integration and solutions--which the company launched at last year's HIMSS show.
In an effort to promote similar innovation and interoperability, Microsoft this year is offering $3 million to developers and solution providers using Microsoft HealthVault to drive industry development of online health-improvement tools.
Microsoft is soliciting proposals in the following areas:
· Primary Prevention Applications – To help caregivers prevent or delay onset of disease by reinforcing healthy lifestyle choices and addressing risks such as hypertension and weight.
· Secondary Prevention Applications – To assist patients and caregivers in measuring things such as blood pressure, lipid profile components (
· Acute Care Applications – Targets acute care scenarios in order to track progress, improve communication and share data between healthcare silos in order to give caregivers better insight into a patient's health history.
· Juvenile Disease Management Applications – Focuses on age- appropriate tools to help children, parents and caregivers understand and manage these specialized conditions.
· Women's Health Management Applications - Creates online tools or services that help manage womens’ complex health issues within the context of lifestyle and family.
· Community and Social Health Applications – Develops applications for health in areas such as collaboration, communication and the use of social relationships to improve care.
According to Microsoft officials, proposals will be reviewed by a panel of healthcare industry leaders chosen by the Microsoft Health Solutions Group. Entrants will be evaluated on their potential to “significantly advance the state of health in one or more areas of focus and demonstrate the potential for expansion into a large-scale program.” The total fund pool is $3 million, with a maximum of $500,000 awarded for any individual proposal. The program is open to
The HealthVault software development kit and further guidance on how to develop HealthVault applications can be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/healthvault.
In addition to the patient tools and the development grant funds, Microsoft announced a renewed partnership with
For the healthcare market,