Microsoft’s entry into the healthcare arena is driven by a vision to provide relevant software across three key pillars, said Gabe Rijpma, its public sector healthcare industry director for Asia Pacific.
The three pillars – empowering people, connecting care and liberating data – will form the foundation of participatory medical care.
Empowering people is about helping people — be it patient or doctor — to communicate and collaborate with each other by equipping them with tools that amplify their interactions, he explained.
Connecting care, he said, is to provide tools that will connect disparate data distributed across silos in hospitals and across the healthcare system on a single and integrated platform.
And lastly, liberating data is the freeing of information stored by various health providers across various systems and to make it accessible to patients and doctors in the simplest way possible. This will allow patients to access the data when they want it, across providers, for different health issues.
Rijpma said hospitals and healthcare facilities that adopt and apply the three pillars in their operations correctly will be able to build the right system for healthcare. “This will make a difference in patient healthcare,” he pointed out.
He said the cost of healthcare is increasingly expensive and continues to grow faster than a nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Currently, about 1.6 billion people of the world’s six billion have access to quality healthcare and adequate coverage, with most economies facing shortages of doctors and nurses.
“This scenario presents a problem to governments, insurers and providers to build a service that can provide quality and affordable healthcare.
“We must think about the kind of system we need to design and build, to address this time of broad challenges, such as an aging population and growing middle class,” he said.
Bridging the people and IT chasm will alleviate the cost, along with healthcare facilities and hospitals automating some of the processes to give access to medicine where this was previously not available.
“We anticipate a future where on one hand, there is going to be a chronic shortage of doctors in rural areas giving a rise to more low cost diagnosis as we rely on global resources to provide local care.
“And on the other hand, a growing class of urbanites suffering from disease of affluence resulting from excessive drinking and smoking,” Rijpma said.
He added that people must stop their destructive habits and understand the lifestyle choices available to them. — ANITA MATTHEWS
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