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The Human Connection in Health

It’s not about the technology

So much is written about technology transforming health and healthcare. All too often we forget what makes health and healthcare so special–why so many of us selected a career in the healthcare industry when quite frankly, there are lots of easier ways to earn a living.

I practiced medicine for more than twenty years before I finally stopped seeing patients altogether when I joined Microsoft. Giving up patient care wasn’t an easy decision to make. Who doesn’t want to feel that their work has meaning; that they are connecting with people at a time when they are most vulnerable; that a simple thank you from a patient or a family who you’ve been able to help is reward enough for your day’s work.

At Microsoft, I focus on information technology and the value proposition it offers for improving health and healthcare around the world. It’s not quite the same as holding the hand of a patient in need, but it does have its rewards when one considers the breadth and scale of what my work is influencing.

For as many years as I can count, I have been a huge proponent for the potential of technology in the form of tele-health and telemedicine solutions to improve health and healthcare around the world. With better, lower cost technology solutions and truly a global reach via the Internet, unified communication technology is indeed transforming the way healthcare is being delivered. I could go on about how a unified communication solution like Microsoft Lync provides the appropriate manageability, privacy and security that’s needed in enterprise healthcare settings. I could extoll about the value of “presence” via Active Directory and how it allows users to connect seamlessly with anyone in their federated network with just a click or two of a mouse.

But again, one must avoid focusing solely on the technology because it is not about the technology. It’s about the human condition. That’s why I am pleased to shine a light on a great new video produced by my colleagues who work in our US Health and Life Sciences team. Take a look. If it doesn’t pull at your heart-strings, maybe it’s time to take a step back and reconsider what life is all about.