The online healthcare space is heating up big time, with a new Microsoft initiative.
Last month I put forth “Google Health URL trumped by Steve Case?”
Adam Bosworth, Vice President, Google: Every ill person needs a “health URL,” an online meeting place where their caregivers, with express permission from the ill person, can come together, pass on notes to each other, review each others’ notes, look at the medical data, and suggest courses of action…online Web applications 101.
Health Web application 2.0 is in previews today, courtesy of Steve Case, Chairman, Revolution Health: RevolutionHealth.com is not just another health site, we are working to build the online destination where you can ‘take action’ to improve your health or your family’s health. It’s time to use the power of the Internet to reform health care with a ‘people-powered’ approach to health, giving parents, patients, and caregivers all the tools they need to manage their health care needs and live healthier lives, said Case.
Just days after I juxtaposed Bosworth’s vision for a Google health URL against the Case Revolution Health vision, I chatted with Bosworth about the online healthcare space during a visit to the New York City Googleplex.
Bosworth indicated to me that a colleague had forwarded my “Google Health URL trumped by Steve Case?” story to him and he enjoyed the discussion (see "Google’s Adam Bosworth to NYC technologists: Speed rules").
What will Google’s reaction be to Microsoft’s latest healthcare moves?
I have been chronicling the Google vs. Microsoft Office battle in which Google calls for nothing less than “Death to the (Microsoft) hierarchy” (see “Google displaces Microsoft, already”).
Today, Microsoft announces “Further Commitment to Healthcare Market With Planned Acquisition of Web Search Company”:
Microsoft Corp. has agreed to acquire Medstory Inc., a privately held company based in Foster City, Calif., that develops intelligent Web search technology specifically for health information. The acquisition represents a strategic move for Microsoft in the consumer health search arena and signals a long-term commitment toward the development of a broader consumer health strategy. Medstory employees will join the Health Solutions Group, a recently formed division at Microsoft that will manage product development and delivery.
"At Microsoft, we are focused on enabling people to make the best decisions,” said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president for health strategy and leader of the Health Solutions Group. “We were impressed with the ability of Medstory’s unique technology to organize and surface the most relevant online health content, which empowers consumers who are trying to find the right information about an important life event.”
Google also asserts it is focused on enabling people to make the best healthcare decisions.
Sergey Brin, Google Co-Founder and President of Technology, Q2 report to Wall Street:
We got an interest in healthcare primarily because there have been so many companies and organizations that actually have approached us interested in healthcare, how the kinds of technologies that we create could be used to help in their states, countries, and deal with various healthcare issues.
The first thing that we've done was a part of the launch of Google Co-op, where we improved the quality of our health search. We partnered with a variety of organizations. I'll probably get the list a little bit wrong, but I think it was NIH and MCBI and organizations such as that, CDC, to help us annotate and draw people towards more authoritative sources, or sources more appropriate to them as consumers or doctors, or healthcare providers of various sorts, just to improve the search.
I think that's a great product that's in its infancy, and we're very excited about it. It's also going to be used in other sectors as well.
But more broadly, we've seen that health information has a lot of similarities to the kinds of challenges we deal with in terms of just textual information. So we would like to make sure that for this important issue to many people around the world, of health, that we're actually able to contribute our technology to solve some of those problems.
We don't have a specific plan as of yet, but we're exploring a number of areas where we feel our technology could benefit people.
Perhaps Microsoft’s announcement today will spur things along, Google healthcare things that is!