Microsoft Partners On Worldwide Health Information Exchanges
Microsoft sells an Asian software line to Orion Health and partners with the company to integrate its tech into HIEs and data analytics products.
Orion is purchasing Microsoft hospital information system (HIS), radiology information system (RIS), and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) software assets, formerly marketed as Amalga HIS and Amalga RIS/PACS in Southeast Asia. Microsoft, which entered the market segment in 2007 with the acquisition of Thai company Global Care Solutions, discontinued sales and development of the products in July 2010.
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"The business we acquired [from Global Care Solutions] didn't have that much global reach," Nate McLemore, general manager of Microsoft's health solutions group, said. It was a "very lightweight product" more suited for developing economies than the West, McLemore added.
Orion will restart the business line as Orion Health HPM (Health Process Management) suite, the company said. Reached by phone from his native New Zealand, Paul Viskovich, Orion Health's North American president, told InformationWeek Healthcare that the company will integrate the HIS and RIS/PACS systems with its existing clinical workflow products. Though Orion acquired the global rights, Viskovich said the company only has plans to market the product in the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions.
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At the time of the 2010 demise of Amalga HIS and RIS/PACS, Microsoft said it would focus on another healthcare product, Amalga Unified Intelligence System (UIS), a data aggregation and analytics platform. Microsoft purchased Amalga, then known as Azyxxi, from Medstar Health, a hospital system in the Washington and Baltimore areas, in 2006.
The Amalga UIS is at the heart of Microsoft's other deal with Orion Health, a memorandum of understanding to bundle the Microsoft product with Orion Health HIE, a portal to facilitate health information exchange. Orion already has a strong foothold in the U.S. market for HIE, serving as the primary technology vendor for statewide exchanges in Maine, Alaska, Louisiana, and North Carolina, and as an HIE provider to several major U.S. and Canadian integrated delivery networks. "Part of the HIE solution that we have is a very strong physician portal," said Viskovich, who works out of an Orion office in Santa Monica, Calif. "Amalga fits well with that."
Amalga UIS adds data aggregation from multiple sources and several levels of analytics to information flowing through the Orion portal, at both the patient and population levels. Viskovich said that the partnership will answer growing customer demand for business intelligence. In particular, healthcare providers are looking for better ways to report data as they build accountable care organization plans, a key element of the 2010 healthcare reform legislation, according to Viskovich.
The two companies already have enough overlapping customers that they have interfaced Amalga UIS with Orion HIE for what Viskovich called "easy data flow" between the two products.
"They really have done a great job in thinking through the workflow issues in health information exchange," Microsoft's McLemore said of Orion Health.
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