Strategic Informatics

A blog about the strategic application of technology


Preparing for the MS Healthcare User Group 2009 Conference



I’ll be headed to Redmond, WA tomorrow for the 2009 Microsoft Healthcare User Group conference.   If you follow this blog you will remember I attended last year and came back with a slightly less jaded perspective of Microsoft’s efforts in the health care space.  As a company I think Microsoft has made some great strides in recent years…  Don’t get me wrong, they have certainly made their fair share of mistakes.  However Microsoft is now in the midst of playing catchup to an industry that doesn’t look kindly on stalwarts.  Some key success that I think will help Microsoft are the release of Windows 7 later this year.  I’m happily writing this blog post on Windows 7 Enterprise Edition and feel confident that Redmond finally got this version of the OS right.  I’ve attended some sessions with Microsoft as part of my current position and know that they have a ways to go yet before Amalga becomes an industry spread name.   They don’t yet have a firm foothold in the US market for leveraging their inpatient hospital centric system with an ambulatory EMR’s.  If they hope to gain some momentum they are up against some big guns in this industry so I’ll be curious to see their approach in the coming months.  

In the mean time I’m looking forward to doing a deep dive into interface, and Silverlight development…  Yes, I said Silverlight.   If you were to ask me 6 months ago what I thought of Silverlight as a viable development platform for web apps I would have shrugged it off as another one of Microsofts attempts at trying to play catch-up to Adobe’s Flash.   We are currently building a rather unique user interface that really focuses on clinician interaction with the document and underlying data and requires some interface development that doesn’t come easy by standard web development methodologies or even many AJAX powered components.  After digging deeper it is clear to me Microsoft is not going to play runner-up in this media-rich web development space.     Silverlight’s data driven components are a real benefit compared with similar Flash based components.   Also Microsoft is quite anal retentive toward the security model they have developed around this browser based add-in.    This coupled with the offline capabilities of Silverlight make it a very compelling platform to base our EMR on.  I’ll be back with interesting items from the conference.


‘Inc.’ Magazine Names WellMed Among Nation’s Most Successful Private Companies

WellMed Medical Management has been honored by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States.

WellMed ranks No. 2144 on the annual Inc. 5000, an extension of the magazine’s Inc. 500 honor, based on percentage of revenue growth in the past 3 years. This was the first year WellMed, which specializes in senior healthcare, applied to be included in the ranking.

Inc. also put WellMed on two of its bellwether lists:

•   Top 100 companies by gross dollars of growth (WellMed rank: 37)
•   Top 100 companies by revenue (WellMed rank: 47)

WellMed reported revenues surpassing $560.6 million at the end of 2008 – $334 million more than it reported in calendar 2005.

WellMed is one of 31 companies headquartered in the San Antonio, TX area to make the Inc. 5000. It is the largest company by revenue on the list from San Antonio. WellMed is the largest primary care provider for seniors in the region.


Physician Smartphone Usage Surges in 2009

According to a manhattanRESEARCH report the number of physicians using smartphones surged to 64% in 2009.  This is useful of a couple of strategic fronts.  The utilization of smartphones is an indication of how connected physicians are becoming and their reliance toward “always on” information.  In my mind this places mobile device development within my cross hairs.  The question then becomes what mobile devices do you develop for and do you become a jack of all trades and support multiple devices.   With RIM and Nokia still leading the pack in market share it is very interesting to note that neither vendor has had their marketshare double year over year as Apple has only being in the mobile phone market for three years.Gartner smartphone Q1 2009

As I sit through several meetings you can’t help but notice the landscape of mobile devices in use.  I pay special attention to those used by our physicians of whom many carry two phones.  One provided by the clinic and another personal device which is almost always an iPhone.   With the vast advances in the iPhone SDK and the internal encryption provided within the OS I feel this device is ready for prime time development.  Our EMR development will lay the foundation for development of mobile solutions for our providers and nurses.  I’m anxious to start building upon the foundational components of our EMR development and exploiting our service oriented architecture (SOA) approach.  It is my belief that each platform (mobile, client, web, kiosk, etc…) has its own unique characteristics that the user interface should exploit.  While I like the idea of a Tablet PC I think it has been stymied in its use of applications that were not developed with a touch or non-keyboard driven interface in mind.  If you really want to drive adoption of an application you must trancend a single interface approach and open yourself to exploring the most efficient method for interacting with your application.  For physicians this interaction comes at a cost of speed in documenting.  I know of very few applications that have solved this very effectively and none of which were done with mobile applications in mind.  I’m excited about some of our approaches within our current development pipeline and will continue to blog about our experiences.


Still here…

It has been a while since my last post but I think it is safe to say things have been quite busy in my world.  There are a lot of exciting things happening that I’ve got queued up to blog about including an upcoming trip to Redmond for the MSHUG conference, EMR development, PHR development, rapid prototyping, user interface, local HIMSS chapter activity, mobile apps, interface engines, and even a touch of RFID development.   So stay tuned…  I’m on vacation for a week, relatively speaking, so I hope to squeeze in more than a few posts in the coming days….