Despite being the worldâs most powerful IT company, Microsoft has beenÂ rather a late entrant into mainstream health IT domain. However, over lastÂ few years, it has substantially enhanced its capabilities for the healthcareÂ industry and steadily emerging as a dominant player through focusedÂ approach and some strategic acquisitions.
Matt Campbell, Director – Healthcare Solutions Group (APAC),Â Microsoft, provided a deep insight into the technological prowess andÂ growth strategy of the company in a candid interview with eHEALTH in theÂ sidelines of HIMSS Asiapac 09 in Â Kuala Lumpur
Currently, healthcare industry acrossÂ the region seems to be in a race toÂ catch up with IT uptake and technologyÂ adoption. What has been yourÂ observation in this regard and what doÂ you think are the reasons behind thisÂ lag?
Transforming healthcare is a complexÂ problem with no easy answer andÂ certainly no quick-fi x solution. WithÂ the Asia Pacific region experiencingÂ increasing challenges and escalatingÂ healthcare costs, healthcareÂ organizations are continuallyÂ threatened by an insuffi cient allocationÂ of technology, resources, andÂ capabilities for their efforts.
Technology has a very real andÂ proven ability to drive transformationâÂ arming healthcare workers, planÂ administratorsâand most importantly,Â consumers, with the best knowledge forÂ real-time collaboration and decisionÂ making. We believe this will chart theÂ path to better, more effi cient healthcareÂ outcomes.
At Microsoft, we fi rmly believe inÂ softwareâs ability to make a positiveÂ impact on the healthcare ecosystemÂ worldwide. However, no one companyÂ can solve it alone. We are taking theÂ long view in our approach to enablingÂ transformation across the healthcare Â system – it will be a marathon vs. aÂ sprint.
Microsoftâs acquisition of Global CareÂ Solutions is supposed to substantiallyÂ expand healthcare capabilities for theÂ company and create superior customerÂ value. What are your comments on this?
The acquisition of GCS complementsÂ Microsoftâs already strong portfolioÂ of health solutions and will provideÂ hospitals across international marketsÂ with a new alternative to achieveimproved workfl ow and patient safetyÂ through information technology.
GCSâs impressive state-of-the artÂ health information system hasÂ enabled complex facilities such as theÂ Bumrungrad International hospital inÂ Bangkok achieve amazing outcomesÂ related to improved workfl ow andÂ patient safety. The fully integratedÂ nature of GCS solutions, and the factÂ that it is built from the ground up onÂ scalable Microsoft technology, makesÂ this a great addition to our portfolio ofÂ health enterprise products as we lookÂ to power developing and emergingÂ hospital systems around the globe. OurÂ solution has allowed the BumrungradÂ facility manage scheduling demands,Â multiple languages and medicalÂ records so efficiently that the averageÂ waiting time to see a doctor is only 17Â minutes.
Till now, Bumrungrad International-Â Bangkok was the most widely knownÂ success story of Microsoft in AsianÂ region. How do you foresee yourÂ business prospects in near future?
The success of Bumrungrad is a sterlingÂ example that we foresee other hospitalsÂ and medical facilities modeling theirÂ technology deployments on. TheÂ synergies between GCS solutions andÂ Microsoftâs health solution portfolioÂ and the future innovations will furtherÂ strengthen the product offering to newÂ and existing customers globally. AfterÂ acquiring GCS our success story alsoÂ extend to 6 other customers in AsiaÂ outside of Bumrungrad International.Â We have HIS systems installed at Franco-Â Vietnamese Hospital in Vietnam, AsianÂ Hospital in the Philippines, AssuntaÂ Hospital in Malaysia and recently,Â the Temerloh Hospital in Thailand.Â In addition to this, we have been veryÂ successful in the Singapore marketÂ with Changi General, KK Women andÂ Childrenâs and Singapore GeneralÂ Hospital with a combination of PACSÂ systems, medical records documentÂ imaging, and image distribution forÂ the SingHealth cluster of hospitals andÂ polyclinics covering 49% of SingaporeÂ healthcare.
The recent launch of Microsoft AmalgaÂ promises a new beginning in enterpriseÂ healthcare solution. What technological
and functional specialties are builtinÂ Amalga, and how does it bring inÂ a differential advantage over otherÂ solutions?
Microsoft Amalga Family of HealthÂ Enterprise Systems consists of aÂ portfolio of enterprise-class healthÂ solutions that provides rich integration,Â giving clinicians and executives quickÂ access to valuable, up-to-the-minuteÂ information across their healthÂ enterprise. The clear winners areÂ doctors, administrators, and patients.
Microsoft Amalga provides aÂ powerful, truly seamless system thatÂ can deliver quick, high-quality dataÂ to any department, which, in turn,Â can help hospitals increase patientÂ turnaround time and enhance theÂ patient experience. Integration alsoÂ improves data integrity betweenÂ different systems, can reduceÂ transcription errors and duplicationÂ of data entry, and optimises reportÂ turnaround. The system fully supportsÂ paperless, integrated work flows andÂ facilitates easy access to patient medicalÂ information and order, scheduling, andÂ study information.
The Amalga family is built on widelyÂ used and supported Microsoft productsÂ to deliver important benefits, includingÂ security, high availability, scalabilityÂ and full audit capabilities. AmalgaÂ also offers simplifi ed deploymentÂ and improved supportabilityÂ through streamlined administration,Â configuration and self-service tools forÂ users.
The major bottleneck for massÂ adoption of Health IT is the âtechnologyÂ aversenessâ of doctors. Does MicrosoftÂ have plans to increase technologyÂ friendliness of doctors throughÂ education programs?
One major reason for the bottleneckÂ is the healthcare industryâs ownÂ conservative attitude and reluctanceÂ to change. For example, it currentlyÂ takes 17 years for a new drug to beÂ fully approved. It does not help thatthe advancement in healthcare is oftenÂ inextricably tied to a governmentâsÂ agenda, which puts additionalÂ consideration in areas like politicalÂ sensitivity, employment issues andÂ so on, giving greater reason for highlyÂ conservative attitude.
At Microsoft, we believe that weÂ are in a unique position to deliverÂ solutions that span from the hospitalÂ to the physicianâs offi ce to the patientâsÂ home. Our willingness to partner withÂ other leading industry vendors furtherÂ expands the reach of the MicrosoftÂ platform in health IT. With a friendly,Â consistent user experience and rich setÂ of services, we believe that doctors willÂ more readily accept Microsoft-basedÂ healthcare solutions than older, legacyÂ products.
As mentioned before, we are takingÂ a long term view in our approach and itÂ will require signifi cant effort to informÂ and educate healthcare providers aboutÂ our solutions. Our participation inÂ events such as HIMSS are an exampleÂ of the kind of outreach that we willÂ engage in over the next several years.