Monday, March 14, 2005

Microsoft and Intel to target Healthcare market

From Davids blog ...

Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. have partnered to create products and services targeted at European healthcare providers, who the vendors say have antiquated IT infrastructures.

The partnership to create an E-Health Integration Platform currently covers Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but the companies are looking to expand across Europe and possibly beyond, representatives for Microsoft and Intel said Thursday. The partnership agreement will be formally signed Monday at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany.

The companies plan to create several product and service bundles for healthcare providers. They currently have 20 projects running with several healthcare providers, including the biggest telemedicine project in Germany, according to Jens Dommel, manager for the healthcare sector at Microsoft in Germany.

While the partnership is limited to three countries today, Microsoft and Intel are keen to replicate it elsewhere, said Garbis Bedoian, business development manager at Intel in Germany.

"This is a local initiative created by Microsoft and Intel in Germany, but we are taking it to our European headquarters to broaden it," he said.

Healthcare is a key area for both vendors as it has the biggest growth in IT spending in Europe, Bedoian said. The spending is driven by upgrades and government-backed initiatives to streamline healthcare services, he said. "In German hospitals, the IT infrastructure is 10 to 15 years behind what we see in other sectors," he said.

The telemedicine project is with hospital group Asklepios Kliniken GmbH. The objective is to electronically connect about 1,000 doctors and specialists to the group's hospitals. The system will support capabilities such as remote diagnoses, as well as more basic features such as online billing, Microsoft's Dommel said.

Another project is for a "medical dashboard" that will make all of a hospital's applications accessible through one user interface. With help from partners, Microsoft and Intel are delivering the first dashboard to Lahn Dill Kliniken GmbH, a Wetzlar, Germany-based operator of three hospitals, Dommel said. This project was begun off in the third quarter of 2004.

The medical dashboard uses Microsoft software including Windows Server 2003, SQL Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Windows XP and Office 2003. The software runs on servers equipped with Intel processors and other hardware including Tablet PCs, according to Microsoft and Intel.

Once developed, Microsoft and Intel plan to use the system as a reference case to help it sell to other customers. The information will be shared with systems integrators who may be able to provide related services, Dommel and Bedoian said.

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