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Microsoft Research: A look at tomorrow’s health solutions today: Part I

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In this special two-part video edition of House Calls for Healthcare Professionals, Bill Crounse, MD, visits with researchers at Microsoft Research.  Each program reviews three promising areas of research that may one day lead to solutions with a direct or indirect application to health and healthcare.   Viewers will gain insight to advanced ideas and technologies now in the labs at Microsoft Research long before they find their way into future products, solutions, or applications.

 

 

A special thanks to Dr. Eric Horvitz, MSR Area Manager, for his assistance in the production of this program.

 

Part 1

  

Situated Interaction

The Situated Interaction project at Microsoft Research aims to enable a new generation of interactive systems that can reason about their surroundings and embed interaction deeply into the natural flow of everyday tasks, activities, and collaborations. As an initial sample challenge in this space, researchers are currently developing a situated conversational agent that can act as a Microsoft front-desk receptionist (for example, make shuttle reservations, register visitors, and provide campus information). The system integrates a large number of artificial intelligence technologies—such as speech recognition and language understanding, face detection and tracking, intention recognition, engagement, and behavioral modeling—in a conversational framework that allows it to engage in mixed-initiative, natural language interaction with one participant or multiple participants.

 

http://msrweb/adapt/SituatedInteraction

 

•Dan Bohus, Ph.D.

Researcher

 

Gaze Tracking

Eye-tracking technology can be used to understand how people interact with information—for instance, search results and Web pages and perform other information processing tasks.  This information can then be used to design new ways of interacting with computers in which the machine recognizes what people look at and better understands what they pay attention to in order to respond accordingly.

 

http://research.microsoft.com/~cutrell/

 

Cutrell, E., and Z. Guan. 2007. “What are you looking for? An eye-tracking study of information usage in Web search.” In Proceedings of CHI'07, Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, CA), ACM Press, 407-416.

Guan, Z., and E. Cutrell. 2007. “An eye-tracking study of the effect of target rank on Web search.” In Proceedings of CHI'07, Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, CA), ACM Press, 417-420.

 

•Ed Cutrell, Ph.D.

Researcher


Big Top

“FourBySix” is a large, 4-foot by 6-foot (standing height) surface computer that Microsoft researchers recently prototyped to explore productivity scenarios and applications involving small groups of users meeting face to face. For example, one use would be to support groups of designers who are combining and reviewing images, allowing them to sketch new designs in a collaborative setting. 

 

•Andy Wilson, Ph.D.

Researcher

  

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  • John EllisJohn Ellis

    I am a Med Student, my sister has just graduated and started work in hospital this month and my father has been a doctor in the NHS for about 30 years so I think I know a bit about healthcare but honestly this is clutching at straws- some of this technology is great and can obviously be of use in the healthcare setting (although I suspect limited use- e.g. a couple of collaborative surface tables per trust) but it's not enough.

    Nobody out there at the moment has really struck at what is needed in the health services at the moment in technology and the existing systems (I know from using them) are either antiques or incredibly inelegant solutions that a tech saavy person can use but complicate matters for the less technically capable. Some hospitals use systems here that are from 1992 and they're "planning" upgrades, they aren't past planning yet- it's a joke, if MS wants the large organisations (and health wise the NHS is a big catch) to part with their resources it cannot be for niches that aren't needed to be filled yet, these wonderful ideas won't get anywhere for a long time because we in the health care systems are still trying to overcome 16 year old problems- make solutions for the smaller things and then move on to these brilliant visions!!!

  • John EllisJohn Ellis

    I am a Med Student, my sister has just graduated and started work in hospital this month and my father has been a doctor in the NHS for about 30 years so I think I know a bit about healthcare but honestly this is clutching at straws- some of this technology is great and can obviously be of use in the healthcare setting (although I suspect limited use- e.g. a couple of collaborative surface tables per trust) but it's not enough.

    Nobody out there at the moment has really struck at what is needed in the health services at the moment in technology and the existing systems (I know from using them) are either antiques or incredibly inelegant solutions that a tech saavy person can use but complicate matters for the less technically capable. Some hospitals use systems here that are from 1992 and they're "planning" upgrades, they aren't past planning yet- it's a joke, if MS wants the large organisations (and health wise the NHS is a big catch) to part with their resources it cannot be for niches that aren't needed to be filled yet, these wonderful ideas won't get anywhere for a long time because we in the health care systems are still trying to overcome 16 year old problems- make solutions for the smaller things and then move on to these brilliant visions!!!

  • Bill Crounse, MDBill Crounse, MD

    Northerngeek,

    Thanks for your comment.  The video programs I do with Microsoft Research are meant to stimulate the imagination of clinicians and developers around the world.  For instance, two years ago we looked at the early development of what has since become a commercial product known as Surface computing.  Over the course of the next few years, you will see Surface applications become quite common in healthcare.

    I practiced medicine for 20 years in Seattle prior to joining Microsoft.  In fact, there are now at least a dozen physicians working at the company.  While I wouldn't disagree with you on the current state of the industry (not only in the UK), I want you to know that we are working hard to develop the more contemporary, powerful,  lower-cost, easier to use solutions that you and I both know the healthcare industry needs.  We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to pave the way for this next generation of solutions.

    Thanks again for your comment.  This industry (healthcare) needs more enthusiastic, questioning, curious young clinicians like you.  Keep up the good work.

    Bill Crounse, MD
    Senior Director, Worldwide Health
    Microsoft

  • Bill Crounse, MDBill Crounse, MD

    Northerngeek,

    Thanks for your comment.  The video programs I do with Microsoft Research are meant to stimulate the imagination of clinicians and developers around the world.  For instance, two years ago we looked at the early development of what has since become a commercial product known as Surface computing.  Over the course of the next few years, you will see Surface applications become quite common in healthcare.

    I practiced medicine for 20 years in Seattle prior to joining Microsoft.  In fact, there are now at least a dozen physicians working at the company.  While I wouldn't disagree with you on the current state of the industry (not only in the UK), I want you to know that we are working hard to develop the more contemporary, powerful,  lower-cost, easier to use solutions that you and I both know the healthcare industry needs.  We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to pave the way for this next generation of solutions.

    Thanks again for your comment.  This industry (healthcare) needs more enthusiastic, questioning, curious young clinicians like you.  Keep up the good work.

    Bill Crounse, MD
    Senior Director, Worldwide Health
    Microsoft

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