Microsoft and GE Healthcare JV Deal

Last week, GE Healthcare and Microsoft launched the JV company. Snippets of news below

GE, Microsoft to Launch Joint Venture Aimed at Global Healthcare System Transformation
50/50 JV combines Microsoft’s deep platform expertise with GE Healthcare’s experience in clinical and administrative workflow solutions.
The two parent companies bring complementary expertise to this new venture and will contribute intellectual property, including the following:
Microsoft Amalga, an enterprise health intelligence platform
Microsoft Vergence, an SSO & CMS
Microsoft expreSSO, an enterprise single sign-on solution
GE Healthcare eHealth, a Health Information Exchange
GE Healthcare Qualibria, a clinical knowledge application environment being developed in cooperation with Intermountain Healthcare (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Mayo Clinic Source

Personally, I am pleased to see this. It’s great to see the super fragmented market starting starting to consolidate. Ultimately, this is good news for patients.

This is a great example of convergence that sounds logical, that bring together a company that knows how to make products while another company that has access to market. The cross sell leverage of the 2 firms combined is enormous.

It wasn’t that long ago that Microsoft had sold off it’s Amalga HIS solution to Orion Health. This asset in the hands of Orion Health, is this a set-up for someone bigger to buy-out?

Who makes the next move? Oracle, SAP, epic, Allscript, Cerner, Orionhealth, CSC/iSoft, etc.

We probably need to see another few big moves and give it 5 – 7 years to see next generation of healthcare apps. Exciting times.

Callum Bir


Achieving Interoperability – Role of Standards in EHR

During the afternoon session of the pre-conference workshop titled “Going Beyond EHR” during the IBC Asia EHR Asia Conference as the chair, kick started using the following slides:

This was then followed by Case-Studies from Singapore and the US, followed by Panel Discussion.

It was interesting to get a lot of questions from our attendees from Philippines, Dubai, Malaysia and Singapore.

Data Rich but Information Poor in Health Care?

I was recently in a power lunch session in a small room full of 20 people with a mixed-bag of Analytics and healthcare to start to ask some of the key questions around what healthcare analytics actually means to them.

I could think of some of the following questions, and by no means, intended to be an exhaustive list:

  • How do we make health care more affordable?
  • How do we improve quality of care and safety?
  • How do we better deal with capacity (access to care, man-power, and delivery capacity)?

It’s amazing how analytics is becoming the new norm in aiding draw strategic insights from existing data. I find two groups of people, one group that believes we don’t have enough data, while, the other group, believe we need to be smart with the data we currently have, which is far beyond what we had even as far as 5 years ago.

It’s amazing how much data we have about a patient, diseases, treatments, spend, etc across millions of data islands, and yet, lack the ability to sit across a room and discuss strategic insights from the data we have.


Personalized Care in an Impersonal Health Care world?

What does personalized care or personalized medicine really mean for you and me as a consumer?

Let’s first look at a very situation. Say you have just started to get a headache and a running nose, and you probably have a couple of things at home or something you could pick up at your nearby pharmacy you could pick up relatively simply. How nice would it be, if you could simply figure out what is sort of wrong with you, what to do next without significant disruption to your existing schedule and plans, and based on a combination of what makes you a you, and your preferences?

That doesn’t sound all that hard? After all, a lot of people have all their schedules in their calendar (eg, iPhone, Outlok Calendar), some of the critical meetings and deliverable, and you probably have one of those iPhone apps that can take your heart rate, etc using the iPhone camera. You have probably probably told Facebook more about you than you would tell your doctor or your mother, everything from your date of birth, time of birth, and every party you’ve visited, and plan to attend. All pretty much most information you need for the computer to help you make the decision about your lifestyle is certainly there. Just need to feed it your symptoms, go through a series of questions, and off comes the recommendation that says, “buddy, how about you get take 2 tabs in the next 30 minutes while you are having this chicken rice but please stay off that 2nd glass of wine. Suggest you go home straight after, sleep straight away, so you will most likely be all set for your 6am wake-up time. You have 2 options, shall I book the taxi for you to go home, and do you want me to set an alarm for you, or call up your girlfriend to wake you up since you will probably need some extra hand? Click here to approve the recommended breakfast in the morning I can send to your maid. You might want to pick up some orange juice since you have run out of it at home which might do you some good.

I am not going to give another example if I wanted to extend this story for a chronic disease patient but I think by now, you have an idea. I also haven’t elaborated upon about “what makes you a you” discussion because I plan to spend more time talking the details of your genetic make-up that also places a key role in tailoring the health care you need.

A lot of this is already possible given the technologies available today, and we certainly have a lot of data available “all over the place”, and not necessarily put to better use for helping us plan our health better.

Callum Bir

HL7 Standards – Non Healthcare Perspective

One of my colleague from a different division was helping me organize our training room in Singapore for the all-day HL7 certification / training. Out of curiosity, he looked up HL7 on Wikipedia which provided lots of information but still needed some context.

Here’s what HL7 is “sort-of” about vs. what it is, and somewhat to adopted for the local Singapore situation. This by no mean is intended to be an official statement

The general idea of hl7, is simple, to be part of a solution to solve the problem we have in healthcare, ie, how do we as the industry better coordinate care as patient moves around from points of care, second, how do we make delivery of care safe while improving quality and finally, do this while lowering cost. There are whole layers of standards to enable all of the above.

For example, in Singapore, we have the National Electronic Health Record initiative, this is enabled by underlying standard such as HL7.


I often get excited talking about self-care and chronic disease management enabled by some of  technology trends we are seeing with smart-phones and other connected devices, but almost always meet the objection around the argument that chronic diseases are for the elderly, and the elderly don’t use smart-phones, hence, this would never work for a variety of reasons.

Call me an optimist, and, I see we only a few years away, if not sooner, before everyone will have smart-phones that will be connected always to the Internet either by 3G/4G, and if not everywhere in the world, but at least in Singapore. If it isn’t a smart-phone, it be a smart-TV that will keep out citizens / patients connected. In a place like Singapore, over the past 6 months, I hear over 50% of all phone sold were smart-phone.

Looking at the concern holistically, the part that often get missed out in the debate is the care givers especially in the asian context. In Asia, the average age of the population is still relatively young and households still have access to those who are relatively technology savvy with relatively high degree of adoption of smart-phones. who also happen to form part of the overall caregiver support structure of Asian homes. Often less understood, is that they this segment is the market is far more demanding high levels of efficiency and technology led innovation.

I am further encouraged by how smart phones and devices have become far more intuitive since the start of iPhone. Usability and form-factors have really come a long-way and the barriers to using technology is becoming less and less of an issue. Once again, worst case, there’s often a Caregiver that can be trained.

So then, when I speak to the nay-sayers around Caregivers, I am surrounded by all the reasons why Caregivers could not be given any empowerment of information patient with the exception of the patient through some remote manner.

I should hope Caregivers and Patients combined could play a more active role in creating awareness and demand among the regulators and care providers to act more maturely and think through the innovation that’s already taking place right now as we speak.

Best regards Callum