How Microsoft is Entering the Healthcare Business

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Microsoft and General Electric expect to launch next year their joint venture providing an open, interoperable technology platform and clinical applications for health management.

The new company, shared evenly between the partners, will develop an open platform that will give healthcare providers and independent software vendors (ISVs) the ability to develop a new generation of clinical applications aimed at better population health management, the partners say. The venture will also develop healthcare applications on the platform that will connect to a wide range of healthcare IT products from various vendors, the companies said.

Offices will be near Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington. It is expected to employ more than 700 staff at the start, with a majority of employees currently working in Microsoft Health Solutions Group and the Healthcare Knowledge & Connectivity Solutions group at GE Healthcare IT transferring to the joint venture subject to the transaction closing, said Sebastien Duchamp, a spokesman for GE Healthcare.

The companies did not, however, disclose the investment by GE Healthcare and Microsoft in the joint venture, which is yet to be named. It will have a presence in Salt Lake City, Utah; and additional cities around the world.

Combines Technology

Microsoft will contribute intellectual property including Amalga, an enterprise health intelligence platform; expreSSO, an enterprise single sign-on technology, and Vergence, a single sign-on and context management product.

GE Healthcare will contribute its eHealth health information exchange and Qualibria, described as a clinical knowledge application environment, that is being developed in cooperation with Intermountain Healthcare and Mayo Clinic.

The joint venture aims in the long term to offer a healthcare performance management suite that includes many of these products.

After the venture is set up, both Microsoft and GE will continue to sell other products and services to healthcare organizations around the globe.

Microsoft HealthVault, a service for people to organize, store and share health information online, will remain at Microsoft as a cloud-based service, Nate McLemore, general manager of Microsoft Health Solutions Group said in a blog post. The new company will join other ISVs in building applications that connect to, and leverage HealthVault, he added.

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