Can Platforms Accelerate Telehealth Adoption? – Paul Smolke, Microsoft

What is a platform and why do you need one to do telehealth? Paul Smolke of Microsoft argues that a telehealth platform helps patients to buy into your program.  

One of the big challenges facing healthcare is managing the diversity of applications. Some large organizations have thousands of different applications in their enterprise. And new vendors and new technologies are added every year. Most of these applications don’t work together. So interoperability is a huge issue. And that’s where the idea of a telehealth platform comes from: a single platform that integrates all these applications and features together in a single solution.

Platform Means You Can Use the Same Technology To Call Your Family and Your Doctor

Smolke argues that successful healthcare companies leverage a telehealth platform in order to scale into a market and to standardize across different technologies. Many solutions have common requirements. For example, whether you’re doing telemedicine, care coordination, or health analytics, you need a real-time communication tool like video conferencing and instant message. A single platform could cover that requirement for many different teams, tying together everyone throughout the enterprise. By the same token, what patients use to call their family would be the same technology they use to call their doctors. That’s why using a single telehealth platform can support faster patient adoption.

Of course it’s important not to over-simplify the challenges of user adoption in healthcare. When we look at our current-day “big bang” disruptions, they completely upend the Rogers’ bell curve  from the 1960s. Although there will be some disruption, Smolke cautions that we should not expect to see a shark-scale of adoption. The healthcare industry is different in that ideas do not spread virally. And there is no Uber coming in to take over the industry.  



As Senior Director of Productivity for Worldwide Health at Microsoft Corporation, Paul Smolke is responsible for the development of strategy, partnerships and solutions based on Microsoft’s productivity platform within the healthcare provider, health payer and public health & social services industries. Smolke has been working on Microsoft’s health industry efforts for the past nineteen years in the areas of industry strategy, business development and executive engagement. Smolke has more than 33 years of healthcare information technology experience. Before joining Microsoft, he worked for a number of healthcare independent software vendors including; Baxter International, American Express, First Data Corporation and McKesson (HBO & Co.).


The Telehealth Failures & Secrets To Success (TFSS) conference gives an honest look at the challenges facing the telehealth industry. Microsoft Sr. Director of Worldwide Healthcare & Productivity, Paul Smolke said,”TFSS was one of the best I have every attended – the format and content was incredible.”

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