Wednesday, August 02, 2006

If Microsoft Ran Healthcare

Microsoft recently announced its intention to buy Azyxxi (yes, that's its real name), an acute care information and patient monitoring system developed by some local physicians. This is the start of a new Microsoft initiative to penetrate the healthcare information system market. On the Microsoft HealthBlog Dr. Bill Crounse, HealthCare Industry Director, talks about how wonderful this will be for patients and physicians. I couldn't help but speculate about what would happen if Microsoft ran healthcare:
  • Your provider network would force you to install the latest nicotine patch, whether you needed it or not
  • There would be four versions of each insurance plan but none of them would pay for an annual physical
  • You'd get dire warnings that out-of-plan care might not be compatible with your body
  • You'd be allowed to see any specialist except the iPodiatrist
  • Bill Gates would donate billions to the third world while ignoring domestic viruses (oh wait, that's already happening)
  • Diseases would be destroyed by buying them out then discontinuing support
  • Your mother would be referred to as your “Original Equipment Manufacturer”
  • Ninety percent of physicians would be in-network, the rest of us would use Apples to keep them away
And yes, I thought all these up myself...

Seriously though, you should read one organization's story about Microsoft's response to their information technology needs. FSW Connections is a Connecticut non-profit organization that provides social services and mental health services including domestic violence counseling, homicide victim support groups and psychiatric rehabilitation services. When they needed to become HIPAA compliant they were denied Microsoft's licensure price for non-profits specifically because they were a healthcare provider. This is a revealing story that foreshadows Microsoft's approach to the healthcare market---soon it won't just be the drug companies driving up healthcare costs. (There's a happy ending. FSW ended up saving $100,000 by switching to open-source strategies. Read the full story here.)


NeoNurseChic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ClinkShrink said...

Two thirds of ShrinkRap have already seen the light. We're working on Dinah.

Within hours after posting this ShrinkRap had its first visitor from Redmond, Washington. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Dinah, go to bed and eat chocolate.

Sarebear said...

Then there's that blue screen, I mean mood, of death . . .

Wait, I already get that.

Never mind.

Dinah said...

I was going to say "what light" but then I realized you meant the Macintosh thing. Next computer, I promise, you can pick it out for me. Soon.

I tried to figure out Gimp. I failed.

I'm totally clueless about this club you keep inviting people to join, except for me.

Do you monitor every computer in the country? It's getting weird, Clink. Oh, that's right, in the world--Vanuatu. Send that post to next week's multicultural health care Grand Rounds.

"Go to bed and eat chocolate" :
Let's be real. You've been to my house many times: does it look like the home of someone who eats in bed? And really, do you think I could eat after I've brushed my teeth? And do you think I have EVER gone to bed without brushing my teeth? Let's be real here. All this without amphetamines.

Steve & Barb said...

We just went to a new electronic medical record system a few months ago. It feels like Micros**t is already running things. The company is Cerner, apparently the leading EMR company. The system is nonintuitive... things that seem like would make sense don't. There is a nice graphing function. However, it doesn't require you to use the same units consistently. My pt's temperature keeps swinging from 98.6 to 36.5 and back. You cannot personalize the drug interaction system, so that everyone always sees the same alerts, whether they are aware of them or not. What results is "alert fatigue", so that you quickly dismiss the redundant alerts, possibly breezing past important ones you were unaware of.

And there is no equivalent of "leafing through the chart", going from front to back to be sure you see all there is to see. There is no feature that helps you distinguish results you've seen before and those you haven't. I was frustratingly trying to accomplish something when I muttered that I wish Apple would get into this space and do it right... someone next to me said, "Amen!"

ClinkShrink said...

We have an electronic record system that's so secure I've never been able to log on to it.

Dinah, I've been to your house and I happen to know Max eats in bed without brushing his teeth afterward. Children must learn this from somewhere.

ClinkShrink said...

Foo, that was priceless.

ladybug said...

i happen to work in the healthcare system in which Azyxxi was designed. i use it on a daily basis for my job. its a pretty nifty system.

in our employee newsletter, the *news* was posted, and my immediate (and continued) thought, was: GREAT, now Microsoft bought it, it will never work! [apparently most of the employees feel the same way]

gotta love the power of the almighty dollar!

ClinkShrink said...

Ah ladybug, thanks for the background info. That must have felt like getting swallowed by Jaws. Keep posting and let us know what it's like inside the belly of the beast.