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Microsoft and GE Healthcare join forces for new health technology platform

Joint venture will also look to integrate with Microsoft HealthVault, just as Google Health is discontinued

GE Healthcare and Microsoft have unveiled plans for a healthcare IT joint venture that will develop a new technology platform to make patient management more cost effective.

Their aim is this platform – already dubbed a 'Windows for healthcare' – will pull together data from disparate IT systems, and connect different devices and healthcare professionals together.

The new company will also build applications that use Microsoft's online health record system HealthVault, a timely part of the plans given that Google is to close its own online health system Google Health in January.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said: “High quality affordable healthcare is one of the biggest challenges facing every nation, but it's also an area where technology can make a huge difference. Working together, GE and Microsoft can help make healthcare systems more intelligent and cost efficient while improving patient care.”

They will set up a new global company as a 50-50 joint venture to offer healthcare providers and payers an “open, interoperable technology platform and next-generation clinical applications”.

The as-yet unnamed new company will be headquartered near Microsoft's main US campus in Redmond, Washington State and combine Microsoft's expertise in building platforms and ecosystems with GE Healthcare's experience in clinical and administrative workflow solutions.

Microsoft and GE singled out chronic disease management as one area the new company could support, through the sharing of data from at-home medical devices (such as blood pressure cuffs, scales and glucometers) with healthcare professionals.

They said this would enable better tracking of chronic conditions, and improve the coordination of treatment schedules, management of medication regimens and timeliness of interventions.

GE Healthcare and Microsoft will each maintain separate presences in healthcare IT, and their new company is expected to be formed in the first half of 2012, subject to regulatory approvals.

9th December 2011

From: Marketing

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