While an overall theme of the Microsoft Connected Health Conference was meaningful use, a second theme was relationships and the many forms they take. Whether between Microsoft and partners, vendors and clients, health providers and patients, patients and their data and different permutations of all of these, relationships are the glue.

 
Relationships were a key element of Eric Gunnerson and Vaibhav Bhandari’s engaging presentation- Developing HealthVault-Enabled Solutions in 2011, and Beyond. During the course of the presentation they chronicled how a patient, caregiver, and health provider could each interact with and share the patient’s data in HealthVault. HealthVault is Microsoft’s personal health information platform. The demo showed how an elderly patient could share his health information with his adult daughter (his caregiver), and how he tracked his weight daily via a HealthVault-connected device that automatically uploaded the readings. His daughter then received an alert when there was a reading outside of the norm, allowing her to take action and schedule a visit with the doctor. The patient and his daughter then shared the information gathered, and other historical data housed in HealthVault, with their doctor and follow-on activities and supporting information was shared back by the doctor via HealthVault. The team also demoed mobile access to HealthVault via multiple devices.
 
The Direct Project, which specifies a simple, secure, scalable, standards-based way for participants to send authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the Internet, and the addition of dicom image capabilities to HealthVault were also featured.
 
Healthcare analytics was another big topic as providers start to look towards how to leverage the data stored in their EMR, and the need to be able to accurately analyze their data in a timely manner to make critical financial, clinical or operational decisions. In talking with attendees, they were increasingly looking for data warehousing and reporting solutions, the ability to analyze and report on clinical data, and to access and report on data across disparate systems. The Perficient team highlighted some of the clinical outcomes reporting work completed with Texas Children’s Hospital leveraging Microsoft SQL Server. You can read about it here, as told by Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer.
 
Steve Aylward of Microsoft announced the 2011 Microsoft Health User Group (MSHUG) Innovation Award winners highlighting solutions around patient-centered medical homes, chronic condition management, and mobile consumer health. Congratulations to all the award winners—of special note, this was Get Real Consulting’s third consecutive MSHUG award!
 
Finally, there was an increased focus on the relationships between patients and providers: how responsibility for care is shifting in some cases to the patient taking an increased role in managing their own health and wellness, and how technology can help to drive participatory medicine, with mobile health applications and devices that can upload key data such as blood sugar levels, weight and blood pressure readings to platforms such as HealthVault where it can be stored shared & acted upon. To paraphrase Microsoft’s Dr. Bill Crounse, whose recap of the conference can be read here, meaningful use is just the first step—it’s what you do next that’s really important. ​