Microsoft To Tap Health Insurance Market

This week at the World Health Care Congress, the software giant will provide developers of health insurance apps guidance for working with Microsoft products.

Aaron Ricadela, Contributor

April 13, 2006

2 Min Read

Microsoft today will kick off a new technology and marketing program aimed at the health insurance industry.

The software company, which sees the health care market as one of its fastest growing, will release technical guidance that independent software vendors and systems integrators can use to make their applications work with Microsoft products, including Windows, SQL Server, InfoPath, SharePoint Server, and Groove. Steve Shihadeh, general manager of Microsoft's health care and life science group, plans to discuss the program on Monday with an audience of CEOs and CIOs at the World Health Care Congress, a conference on health insurance and health care policy in Washington, D.C.

"Health plans are really under the gun" to standardize procedures and lower costs, Shihadeh says. Microsoft says its products can be attractive to companies paying for more expensive clinical and ERP systems. Its customers in the sector include insurance plans Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, and hospitals University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Baylor Health Care System.

Microsoft has also built a demonstration version of a medical application running on a Windows-based Palm Treo PDA. Another demo has the upcoming Office 2007 suite enabling an application for insurance companies to automate managing contracts with doctors. And Microsoft's research group is working on a medical lexicon for speech recognition in Office, according to Shihadeh.

Last year Microsoft rehired Peter Neupert as corporate VP for health strategy. Neupert, who also worked for Microsoft in the '80s and '90s on the OS/2 operating system and MSNBC Web site, currently reports to Microsoft CTO Craig Mundie and is working on future technologies and policies for electronic medical records, data mining, and mobile technology for doctors, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

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