Here's another piece of the "Why is Microsoft so interested in healthcare?" puzzle:
Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Defense are teaming to build a massive medical data warehouse. As described in Washington Technology, Microsoft is directing the R&D on the project.
"The Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, a division of the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, will be the lead DOD program office for the project; Microsoft will direct the research and development. They also will jointly develop the methodology and tools to extract, store and analyze AHLTA data without interrupting the data flow at the repository."
Microsoft isn't doing this for the money. According to the article, no funds are changing hands. But the company will get to work with data -- a lot of it.
AHLTA stores more than 9.1 million health records, making it "the largest patient health care inforamtion system of its kind in the world," according to the article. The population health data in the system "will help spot trends not readily apparent and identify at-risk groups."
According to the article, the data with which Microsoft will be working "cannot be personally identified."
(Here's another article on the Microsoft-DOD data warehouse deal.)
Healthcare is definitely big business. But as this deal indicates, Microsoft isn't looking at healthcare as just another vertical market. Redmond has bigger designs on this space. Something worth watching...