GE, Microsoft to launch health data firm

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Microsoft announced that it will partner with General Electric to form a new company that makes healthcare information more accessible. The partners said they hope to optimize the treatment that healthcare providers can offer patients while reducing costs.

In what is touted as the ideal combination of Microsoft's innovation and expertise in developing software platforms with GE Healthcare's experience in administrative and workflow solutions, their goal is to enable “healthcare professionals and organizations with the intelligence and capabilities to respond to the rapidly evolving and complex healthcare landscape.”

“The complementary nature of GE Healthcare's and Microsoft's individual expertise will drive new insights, solutions and efficiencies to further advance the two companies' shared vision of a connected, patient-centric healthcare system,” said Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE. The venture reflects a “common goal” of the two companies.

The new company will deliver a distinctive, open platform that will give healthcare providers and independent software vendors the ability to develop a new generation of clinical applications.

The venture will develop healthcare applications on the platform using in-house developers and the platform will connect with a wide range of healthcare IT products. GE Healthcare IT will immediately be able to connect existing products to the platform, helping current customers to derive new insights.

Key parts of the venture are that Microsoft's applications will connect to GE's hardware and be implemented by GE Healthcare IT. Microsoft brings Amalga, a health intelligence platform; Vergence, a context management system; and ExpreSSO, a single sign-on technology, to the table. Many of Microsoft's technologies in the joint venture were acquired from Sentillion.

GE will contribute eHealth, an information exchange, and Qualibria, a clinical knowledge management application.
Microsoft's HealthVault was left out of the joint venture.
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