Microsoft, GE Creating (Me Too?) Platform For Integrating Clinical Apps

Posted on December 9, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Here’s an fun announcement, a bit light on the details but certainly fascinating enough just by virtues of the companies involved. Microsoft and GE’s healthcare IT business have announced that they’re creating an open platform allowing providers and ISVs to create next-gen clinical apps.

Exactly what apps, the announcement doesn’t say, though it hints at fashionable stuff like population health management. (I think that’s corporate-ese for “we’re not sure what we’ve got yet.”)

Clearly, MS and GE are getting wind of efforts by firms like SAP — which has promised to deliver an abstraction layer which can bring myriad data sources into a single happy EMR database.  With the need for integrated health analytics growing stronger by the minute, health IT middleware has never been sexier.

The MS/GE joint venture brings a number of existing properties to the mix, including:

* Microsoft Amalga, an “enterprise health intelligence platform”

* Single sign-on and context management solution Microsoft Vergence

* GE Healthcare eHealth, an HIE platform

* Microsoft expreSSO, an  enterprise single sign-on solution

Perhaps the most interesting item on the list is GE Healthcare Qualibria. Qualibria is a clinical knowledge app GE is developing in partnership with Intermountain Healthcare and Mayo Clinic, both known for being innovative and forward-looking where quality analytics are concerned.

Not surprisingly, GE Healthcare IT will also be developing its own healthcare apps on the platform, which will be designed to connect with a broad cross-section of existing health IT products.

The stated function of the new platform, as stated in the two companies’ press release,  is “helping healthcare organizations and professionals use real-time, systemwide intelligence to improve healthcare quality and the patient experience.”

The real function, at this point, is “don’t let other enterprise IT companies jump ahead in healthcare IT,” I’d say. But clearly something cool could come out of this at some point, particularly from providers like Intermountain and Mayo. So stay tuned.