I enjoyed reading Microsoft Chairman Bill Gatesâ€™s op-ed piece in todayâ€™s Wall Street Journal, Health Care Needs an Internet Revolution. In comparison with his fellow Win-Tel chairman, Gates is more level headed and exhibits a greater understanding of health care.
Gates reminds us of the high cost and low quality of health care. His proposed solution is to focus on better assembly and use of the data that are available now, and for enhancing the role of individual patients in this process:
By giving us comprehensive access to our personal medical information, digital technology can make us all agents for change, of pushing for the one thing that we all really care about: a medical system that focuses on our lifelong health and prioritizes prevention as much as it does treatment. Putting people at the center of health care means we will have the information we need to make intelligent choices that will allow us to lead healthy livesâ€¦
Toward the end of the piece, Gates take an indirect swipe at Google while laying down Microsoftâ€™s chosen strategy:
No one company can â€“or shouldâ€”hope to provide the single solution that makes all of this possible. Thatâ€™s why Microsoft is working with a wide range of software and hardware companies, as well as with physicians, hospitals, government organizations, patient advocacy groups and consumers to ensure that, together, we can address critical issues like privacy, security and integration with existing applications.
It will be quite a while before Microsoftâ€™s new foray into health care pays off. But this is a company to watch for the long-term. I have the feeling that Microsoftâ€™s maturity and resources will be powerful competitive advantages not only against Google but against upstarts like Revolution Health as well.October 5, 2007