Connecting patients to healthcare with technology

Harnessing the power of technology to improve patient safety and experience was top of the agenda at EHI Live 2013

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 09 January 2014
Connecting patients to healthcare with technology

Harnessing the power of technology to improve patient safety and experience was top of the agenda at EHI Live 2013, which was held at Birmingham’s NEC in November.

Touch spoke to Mark Smith, Microsoft UK’s director of healthcare, life sciences and consumer healthcare, after the event to understand how Microsoft and its key partners are helping healthcare providers achieve clinical innovation.

“Over the next couple of years, the NHS will face massive IT infrastructure challenges, as it seeks to deliver high levels of care, which will drive a significant review of current systems and best practices,” said Smith. “The migration away from Windows XP, which will happen in April 2014, gives providers a huge opportunity to really see how technology can drive innovation and increase operational efficiencies, while minimising costs. As the health service looks to deliver more to the community, the use of Lync and Skype for consultations and multi-disciplinary collaboration will become increasingly prevalent.”

According to Smith, Microsoft and many of its key partners are developing solutions that enable healthcare organisations to capture and analyse available data to make better-informed decisions in real time and improve services for patients.

“The technology to put individuals at the centre of their own healthcare already exists, what we need to do now is to reimagine healthcare provision to make that possible,” said Smith. “Together with our partners, Microsoft is working with healthcare organisations to transform that vision and provide the solutions to meet the challenges ahead. MapCite, for example, took crucial data and mapped it to show which UK hospitals were breaching the four-hour wait at A&E departments in the UK.”

While some Microsoft partners are focusing on using technology to improve hospital procedures, others, including Optevia and Risual, are developing solutions to significantly change and enhance the patient/practitioner relationship. Both showcased their solutions at EHI Live.

“Optevia is currently using Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) tool Dynamics CRM to help healthcare providers broaden the patient/clinician relationship and improve the patient experience in both clinics and in the community,” said Steve Lyon, business development director at Optevia. “Because the Dynamics CRM platform can be intuitively integrated with Microsoft Office, social media sites and Skype, for example, clinicians can easily provide a single view of each individual’s medical history and related communication.”

Risual is also focused on transforming the way practitioners engage with patients, using mobility and connectivity platforms to improve information at the point of care.

“At Risual, we are focusing on developing ‘care oriented computing’ solutions, which empower healthcare providers to engage with patients in a new and improved way,” said Tim Gee, account director at Risual. “This could cover a range of things including delivering information to the patient’s bedside using a tablet, interacting with the patient in the community, enabling remote consultation sessions with GPs, or simply improving IT infrastructures to enhance communication and collaboration. For example, we’ve recently implemented a Microsoft Lync-based solution to enable clinicians at a UK hospital to diagnose stroke patients remotely, which speeds up their treatment.”

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