The Microsoft Health Users Group 2012 Innovation Awards are presented annually to the healthcare organization and technology solutions partner that best demonstrates industry leadership in using technology to achieve innovation excellence.

Currently in its fifteenth year, Microsoft’s Health Users Group (HUG) 2012 Innovation Awards give healthcare organizations the chance to showcase how they are using technology to enhance and transform the quality of patient care, reduce costs, streamline clinical and business processes, drive interoperability, improve productivity and workflow, and enable informed decisions.

This year, the winner Endomondo, was announced in Las Vegas at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference & Exhibition. Endomondo can be defined as a social fitness app that turns your smartphone into a “personal trainer”.

“The app can be used for running, cycling, walking and all other distance-based outdoor sports. Using GPS, the app tracks route, distance, duration, split times, calorie consumption and more while providing audio feedback on performance. The app offers a full history of workouts, as well as social features that allow users to compete with friends without giving up flexibility. The app also supports heart rate monitors on most handsets.”

The app also integrates fully with Windows 7 phones. Christian Birk, co-founder of Endomondo elaborates.

“Our vision is to make fitness fun. To succeed in this goal, Endomondo’s service takes full advantage of Microsoft’s platform. We’ve worked hard on this app so recreational athletes across the world will like it.”

It can also be found on the iPhone as well as the Android platform.

One interesting feature of the app is its social integration features. Users can send real-time pep talks to friends while they are exercising, compete against friends, challenge co-workers and share it all on Facebook or Twitter.

According to the article, this social aspect helps users achieve their fitness goals, since a recent study conducted for Endomondo in Europe showed a 28 percent increase in exercise activities for those engaged in the community.

Steve Aylward, general manager of U.S. Commercial Health and Life Sciences for Microsoft explains how the Innovation Awards improve patient outcomes.

“The 2012 Microsoft HUG Innovation Awards recognizes organizations that are using technology to improve general fitness and patient care, reduce costs, streamline clinical and business processes and enable informed decisions. “Each of this year’s winners clearly demonstrated the innovative use of IT to improve fitness, traditional business or clinical processes and, as a result, positively impacts the health and well-being of persons within their organization.”

Source: Press Release