Hi-Ho, Silver! Google And Microsoft Ride To Health Care's Rescue - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
8/15/2007
05:02 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Hi-Ho, Silver! Google And Microsoft Ride To Health Care's Rescue

Microsoft and Google are working on major digital health-care information initiatives, the New York Times reports. There's a suggestion that these two can make a dent in the sorry state of digital health information because they can throw money, brainpower, and storage at it. Unfortunately, that's not what's been missing.

Microsoft and Google are working on major digital health-care information initiatives, the New York Times reports. There's a suggestion that these two can make a dent in the sorry state of digital health information because they can throw money, brainpower, and storage at it. Unfortunately, that's not what's been missing.Every CIO has a stake in whether IT is used well to improve health care, given how big and fast-growing an expense employee health insurance is. We've challenged IT execs to take up the cause. We've also seen an ambitious employer-led effort, championed by Wal-Mart and Intel, sputter amid legal disputes and execution problems.

What we haven't seen, however, is an industry-wide consensus that digital health records are an operating imperative. We wrote in May how progress toward electronic health records, and particularly the sharing of those records, is moving much slower than it should. Doctors need to feel they aren't serving their patients as well as they could without digital records. Patients need to pressure doctors to adopt e-records. Insurance companies also need to give doctors incentives to go digital -- and share with them the savings insurers reap as a result. Employers need to put heat on insurance companies they contract with to make this a priority, and help their employees to embrace e-records where practical. None of these groups oppose e-records, but none are moving with the needed urgency.

It's important because e-records won't work unless there's an ecosystem of people -- consumers, doctors, insurers -- using them. E-records don't solve all problems, and they'll create some of their own. But until we move to a broadly digital health platform, we won't know what problems we can solve through better information sharing.

Neither Google nor Microsoft would share much detail with the Times' Steve Lohr, though Microsoft hints at properly broad goals. Steve Shihadeh, general manager of Microsoft's health solutions group, tells Lohr: "We're building a broad consumer health platform, and we view this challenge as far bigger than a personal health record, which is just scratching the surface."

Ultimately it's good news that Microsoft and Google are on this job, and I hope they're wildly successful. The experience of watching the health care industry make such slow progress the past four years tempers my expectations. But getting a mass-market of consumers to embrace useful, intuitive health information tools would apply pressure on an industry too willing to wait.

Please share your thoughts. Will Microsoft and Google spur progress in digital health care information? Will that improve care? And should your company, and its CIO, play a role in encouraging digital health records for employees?

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
News
How to Create a Successful AI Program
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/14/2020
News
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
Slideshows
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
Slideshows
Flash Poll