New healthcare IT venture launched by GE, Microsoft

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Software giant Microsoft has partnered with General Electric (GE) to launch a new healthcare IT company to develop an interoperable healthcare platform and create applications intended to improve the quality of patient care, reports Healthcare IT News.

“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,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft, as quoted by the news source. “Combining Microsoft’s open, interoperable health platforms and software expertise with GE’s experience and healthcare solutions will create exciting opportunities for patients and healthcare providers alike.”

According to officials, Microsoft will leverage its substantial experience in platform development as part of the new venture, and GE Healthcare will utilize its specialties in the creation of clinical and administrative workflow tools. The new company will be headquartered near Microsoft’s existing corporate base in Belleview, Washington, and a major research and development facility is also planned for the Salt Lake City area of Utah.

Representatives of the company expect to formally launch the new venture in the first half of 2012, following approval from various healthcare regulatory bodies. The move does not represent a departure from Microsoft and GE’s independent healthcare IT projects, as both companies have indicated that they will continue to develop their own proprietary solutions alongside the work undertaken by the new venture.

According to CNET, the suite of tools that will be developed by the new company is expected to include Amalga, Microsoft’s enterprise health intelligence platform, in addition to Qualibria, GE’s clinical knowledge application environment which is currently being developed in partnership with the Mayo Clinic and Intermountain Healthcare. Microsoft’s HealthVault software solution will not developed further as part of the new venture.