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Microsoft doctor to meet team behind hospital trust's IT innovation

Dr Bill Crounse

Microsoft’s top doctor will visit staff at Southampton’s teaching hospitals on Wednesday (31 October) to find out more about a radical IT project for patients with long-term conditions.

Dr Bill Crounse, the corporation’s senior director for worldwide health, will discuss the development of My Health Record, a website that allows patients at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust to access parts of their health record from home.

Created by the information management and technology team in collaboration with doctors and nurses at Southampton General and the Princess Anne hospitals, the site feeds into Microsoft’s HealthVault – an online tool which enables people to store a range of health information for personal use and to share between care providers.

The innovation, currently being piloted among patients with inflammatory bowel disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or maternal diabetes, gives staff the opportunity to make information which is held in clinical and administration systems, such as upcoming appointments, test results and consultant advice, available to patients online in an instant.

Additionally, patients can keep daily diaries on their health, upload data from medical devices used at home – such as blood pressure, blood sugar and lung function – and communicate with their clinicians, including consultants and specialist nurses, without attending hospital.

“We want to create a culture that encourages patients to take much more control over their own healthcare and this project is helping us to do that,” said Adrian Byrne, director of information management and technology at UHS.

“By improving and making communication between clinicians and patients more accessible, and giving patients more independence, we hope My Health Record will lead to a reduction in hospital appointments, admissions and readmissions while actually increasing patients access to their specialists.”

The information collected via My Health Record and held in a person’s HealthVault, including charts, graphs and tables to provide an overview of trends, can be made available to various clinicians or other carers if the patient allows access.

Dr Crounse, who is responsible for providing thought leadership, vision and strategy for Microsoft technologies and solutions in healthcare, said: “UHS is leading the way to a new era of care where patients are actively engaged and at the centre of the care they receive, be that in the hospital, community clinic, extended care centre or even in their own homes.

“With online access to their personal health records, and information and applications that help them better manage every aspect of their own health and that of family members, patients become active members of the care team and I believe all patients would be better served if they had online access to their health records and the ability to securely share that information."

Posted on Monday 29 October 2012