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10/29/2007
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Microsoft Acquires Hospital IT Software From GCS

GCS offers several health-care IT products that run on Windows, including software that automates patient record keeping, billing, regulatory compliance, and clinical workflows.

Continuing its push into systems and software that promise to modernize the provisioning of health care, Microsoft said Monday that it has acquired a number of assets from Global Care Solutions -- a Bangkok-based developer of computer software used in hospitals.

Microsoft said it would take on an unspecified number of GCS employees as a result of the deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

GCS offers several health-care IT products that run in the Microsoft Windows environment, including software that automates patient record keeping, billing, regulatory compliance, and clinical workflows. The software is designed to run atop Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2005.

GCS developed its software in cooperation with Bangkok's Bumrungrad hospital, which treats more than 1.2 million patients per year. In a statement, Bumrungrad CEO Mack Banner said the use of GCS technology has helped the hospital reduce average patient waiting times to just 17 minutes.

"The GCS software is a key to our service delivery, medical quality, and financial performance," said Banner.

Microsoft sees as an opportunity the fact that a growing number of health-care organizations around the world are turning to IT to reduce costs and comply with increasingly complex government regulations.

Earlier this year, the company acquired Medstory Inc. -- a developer of search engines that provide health information over the Web -- with an eye to building out its recently formed Health Solutions Group. Last year, Microsoft bought out clinical software maker Assyxxi.

Not only does health care represent a lucrative market for Microsoft, it fits with chairman Bill Gates' growing interest in tackling issues beyond computer technology. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has to date contributed millions of dollars to the fights against AIDs, malaria and other diseases.

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