Microsoft, U of Miami in experiment

Twenty-five diabetic patients will be given computers that connect them to healthcare providers to maintain an ongoing dialogue about their condition, and allow doctors to monitor their status, in a new patient-care experiment by Microsoft (Redmond, Washington) and the University of Miami, the Miami Herald reports.

The patients can send blood-sugar levels and other data in real time, while physicians can "nudge" patients who veer from appropriate care "with an e-mail."

"Under the pilot program, 'we're testing the concept that, what will happen if all the patients are able to interact with doctors and nurses through a portal," a Miami medical professor] said. "Will that lead to more prevention? More wellness? ... It's a very interactive process."

Experts say the program — which could improve efficiencies by reducing the number of expensive hospital visits by the chronically ill — reflects Washington's focus on reducing unnecessary costs as part of health reform.