GE, Microsoft Announce Joint Venture for New Health IT Software Platform

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A joint venture between GE Healthcare and Microsoft aimed at building a new software platform for health care IT could make electronic health records more useful by pulling together patient data from different systems. The merger is said to combine Microsoft's "deep platform expertise with GE Healthcare’s experience in clinical and administrative workflow solutions," according to a joint press release. The new company is expected to launch within the first half of 2012 and will be focused on building a unique operating system and new clinical applications that could improve quality and lower cost. “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,” according to the release. Both parent companies will continue to sell their own products and services, but key aspects of each will merge to form a new company, pending regulatory approval. Microsoft’s Amalga intelligence platform and its single sign-on solutions, Vergence and expreSSO, will combine with GE Healthcare eHealth, a health information exchange, and GE Healthcare Qualibria, a clinical knowledge application. Officials for both companies said the new venture should improve health care quality through an interoperable technology platform that enables better health management. The potential exists to identify patients most prone to a health care acquired infection by pulling together data from different systems. A uniform platform could also help patients and physicians work together more effectively to manage chronic diseases, according to the release.