Microsoft, DOD to build medical data warehouse

Microsoft, DOD to build medical data warehouse

Summary: 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.

TOPICS: Health

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...

Topic: Health


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • getting the job done

    Smart move by the government.
    When you have the best software company in the world attempting a task, you know its going to get done.

    Unlike the FBI VCF project i.e. virtual case file, which was handled by a government contractor called SAIC (
    • Microsoft delivers!!

      Yes - like they did with Vista >

      1. Three years late;

      2. The most trumpeted features such as WinFS were left out;

      3. Way over budget

      Microsoft to get the job done - dream on.
  • Microsoft isn't doing this for the money.

    No, but when they're done that's going to be an awful lot of DoD data that won't be accessible without Microsoft's cooperation.

    It's called "investment."
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Gee. I must be doing it wrong!

      I didn't know I had to call Microsoft before I accessed the information in our SQL servers. What was I thinking? Your post had to be one of the dopiest I have read today.
      • My theory

        My theory is this.

        Microsoft SQL server isn't capable of Data Warehousing. It's not designed for it. Microsoft SQL server is designed for OLTP(online transaction processing) databases. This is an opportunity for Microsoft to design and test new implementations for thier SQL server line. That's why I think there is no money changing hands.

        On thing with Data warehousing is you need a ton of data to test with. If you don't have that it's kind of hard to tell if you software can handle a ton of data. What looks good with a million record could fall flat with 800 Billion records.
        • check out TeraData

          This project is not a beta test for Microsoft SQL Server.

          Check out TeraData.

          Teradata offers a choice of several operating systems:

          NCR UNIX SVR4 MP-RAS
          Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003
          SUSE Linux on 64-bit Intel servers has been pre-announced for 2006.

          1990 The first system over one terabyte (a trillion bytes) went live. Teradata acquires Sharebase (formerly Britton Lee) database computer company. Teradata Corporation partnered with NCR Corporation to build the next generation of database computers.

          1991 In December, NCR announced its acquisition of Teradata.

          1992 The first system over three terabytes (a trillion bytes) went live.

          1994 Gartner named Teradata the ?Leader in Commercial Parallel Processing.?

          1995 IDC consulting group named Teradata number one in MPP (massively parallel processing) in Computerworld Magazine.

          1996 A Teradata Database was the world?s largest database with 11 terabytes (11 trillion bytes) of data. Gartner commented ?... NCR?s Teradata V2 has proven it can scale...? And the Data Warehouse Institute presented Teradata with its Best Practices Award in data warehousing. Teradata introduces Teradata Customer Relationship Management (CRM), a software application and one of Teradata?s first packaged enterprise analytic solutions.

          1997 Teradata ships ?virtual AMPs?. Following a server node failure, the virtual AMP migrates to other hardware server nodes, one of the earliest known commercial examples of grid computing.

          1998 Teradata was ported to Microsoft Windows NT.
        • was a little off on my previous post in reply to your post

        • Nasdaq runs on MS-SQL Server 2005

        • I doubt that.

          Corporations have already used SQL Server 2005 for extremely large databases. SQL 2005 comes cluster-aware, although even with sql2000 you could still cluster your analysis databases, and 2005 comes with many other new capabilities that enhance it's ability to scale easily and also to aggregate and create OLAP cubes or what have you very easily. Many companies running DB2 or Oracle used to buy SQL 2000 just for DTS. Microsoft has taken the best OLAP interface and made the database itself much more scalable (even though there were ways to scale SQL 2000 out to DBs this size).
        • my theory....

          After working with various flavors of MS SQL for a lot of years, I think you hit the nail squarely on the head. It's really a different type of architecture to go from OLTP to warehousing.

          Great opportunity for MS and the DOD (and ultimately the vets and medical staff) if both of them can pull this off.
    • Is this to be taken seriously?

      It seems to have the same hyperbole as this: <br><br>
      <i>Want to make an appointment with your doctor? You'll need MS software. Hospitals won't run without MS software. Etc. With lives at stake, MS will be in a position to dictate any terms they like.
      • You have to understand his disapointment

        apparently, [i]With lives at stake[/i], they decided they couldn't trust those lives to Linux or Apple,

        I guess a story like this drives that point home to the ABM Zelots...
        John Zern
  • Signs Of The Times

    When our governmental agencies starts handing our personal records over to the monopolistic Microsoft mafia, it takes all the guesswork out of the equation. It's amazing the number of citizens that cheer the vehicle of their own destruction on.

    the data "cannot be personally identified." Yeah, right! In a pigs eye! What good could a medical record possibly be without personal identification? Only an idiot could tell. Just like the data they collect with WGA. Who knows what it is? ONLY Microsoft.

    "Redmond has bigger designs on this space" You bet your bippie they do!

    This is not technological innovation. It's more like National suicide.

    Thank you in advance for all the accolades from you NBM'ers. Coming from you, I consider them it a compliment.
    Ole Man
    • Grammatical Correction

      "I consider them it a compliment"......change to: I consider them a compliment (the accolades from the NBM'ers).
      Ole Man
    • I see where you are going with this

      You would prefer Google to handle this as they would then be able to scan my history and send the appropriate ads to me for discount medicines or services that my record would indicate I use/need.

      Or maybe Apple? yeah, there's a name synonomous with business data capabilities.
      John Zern
    • Fortunately, decissions of this type are not ...

      ... left up to conspiracy theorists such as youself. Once you remove the emotion and the paranoia the decision makes perfect sense. Keep tilting at windmills Don Quixote.
    • oh Ole Man, your cynical eye is overactive

      <i>the data "cannot be personally identified." Yeah, right! In a pigs eye! What good could a medical record possibly be without personal identification? Only an idiot could tell</i><br><br>
      I work for healthcare organizations. With the hipaa laws, PHI is only legal for TPO. <br>
      But you have to ask what good is data with personal identifiers stripped out?? Providers routinely pay consultants to analyze data over given periods of time for both clinical and cost cutting, revenue enhancing reasons. The kind of useful aggregate information in a national database would be incredible for all involved. <br><br>
      <i>This is not technological innovation. It's more like National suicide</i><br><br>
      Your statements are so over the top they don't even really fall into conspiracy related categories. They are just plain crazy. I'm starting to wonder if you are posting from a "house of respite".
      • You will still be wondering

        When you wake up dead.
        Sheep always follow the sheepherder and wonder where they are going. So you are right at home with your crowd.
        The majority has never been right in the history of mankind, but stick with them, and you'll always be popular.
        As I stated in another post, I consider an insult coming from your crowd a compliment. Thank you!.
        Ole Man