Ubiquitous health care services: Microsoft's vision

Thanks to @virtuate for bringing this YouTube video to my attention. It is part of a presentation dcaron about Healthcare 2.0. It is an interesting vision that lines up very well with Microsoft's Health Vault Project of a web-based health record.

Another player in the field with a similar lineup is Google with their web-based health record Google Health and the possibility to offer health related services over the Google phone with the Android operating system that is open for externally developed applications.

It will be interesting to see, whether the two companies with their resources will have a go in Germany, and whether this will effect the German health card project.

 An indication that this kind of technology might not be that far away, is the TED-talk by Pattie Maes of the MIT Media Lab. She shows a working prototype that gives you access to the internet and a display. All you need is a surface. Your access to the internet acts like a new sense to the world of digital data. The prototype is controlled by natural hand gestures. Very fittingly it is called 'SixthSense'.

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As a recent health informatics degree graduate, I am happy to see the symbiotic relationship between information technology and health care develop over the years. There is a big possibility that IT and health informatics will one day help to transform the whole industry, which is in desperate need of reform.

June, you are definitely right about the potential to reform the health care industry using information technology. Frustratingly the basic ideas have been around for decades, and they did not change very much. This can clearly be seen in the classic paper "General requirements for a Medical Information System (MIS)" by Collen published in 1970 (Pubmed Link). Sometimes I get the impression that the themes stayed constant over time, but they are only rewrapped again and again in the most current technology. The only major changes today, that can be seen, are

  • the size of the projects involved going from department (hospital) based computerized patient records to national health record initiatives,
  •  the increased involvement of the patient in their own health,
  • and the appearance of non-health care players like Microsoft and Google trying to participate in the game.

Hopefully this time the potential can be realized.

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