This morning I had the distinct pleasure of spending an hour with Danny Lindrea, solutions architect at Bendigo Health. Mr. Lindrea came to Microsoft in Redmond to meet some of the members of our worldwide health team and share information on how Bendigo is advancing information communications technologies (ICT) using Microsoft and Microsoft partner services, products, and solutions. In fact, Bendigo may very well be developing the ICT "health platform" of the future.
Bendigo Health has been servicing the Loddon Mallee region of Victoria, Australia, for over 150 years. The system employs more than 3000 staff and offers a 653 bed high acuity teaching hospital, a 60 bed rehabilitation unit, specialty services including mental health, community and outreach services, and residential aged care facilities. At the end of 2016, Bendigo will open a brand new, state-of-the-art hospital facility. The new hospital will provide 372 inpatient beds, 72 same day beds, 10 new operating theaters, a regional cancer center, an 80 bed integrated mental health facility, a mother and baby unit, a helipad, and parking for 1,350 cars.
At a time when many US hospitals and health systems are knee-deep trying to implement or optimize a very expensive, legacy EHR solution, Bendigo is taking a much different approach. As Mr. Lindrea states, even if Bendigo followed the herd and implemented one of the usual, well known enterprise EHR solutions, his hospital, clinics and other facilities would still suffer from information silos and fragmented IT solutions. So rather than chart a future that he knows won't deliver what's needed, Bendigo is breaking the mold. Bendigo Health is taking a cloud-first, mobile-first approach.
Bendigo's plan is to use time-tested, enterprise management, customer relationship management, productivity, collaboration, and analytics solutions from Microsoft and Microsoft partners.This includes a contemporary clinical front end to back end data sources (using Vitro) being developed by Microsoft partner Slainte Healthcare. Another Microsoft partner, Data Capture Experts, is providing enterprise content management on Office 365. Intersystems will be leveraging Microsoft Azure for additional key workloads.
With this approach, Bendigo Health is leading the health sector by embracing the cloud. By using time-proven, lower cost solutions that are widely used in other industries, Bendigo will deliver a new kind of health platform for ICT. It will literally cost pennies on the dollar compared to what is spent by other health systems for solutions that are quite frankly primitive compared to what Bendigo clinicians and administrators will be using when the everything is finally in place.
You can learn more about Bendigo Health and their new hospital project by visiting the health system's website. You may not have heard of this hospital and health system's name before, but I predict you'll be hearing a lot about them in the months and years ahead. I truly believe Bendigo's approach to ICT is exactly what needs to be done to transform information technology in healthcare to something that not only works better, but does so at much lower cost.
Bill Crounse, MD, Senior Director, Worldwide Health, Microsoft.