Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

Summary: Microsoft is moving full-steam ahead with its healthcare push, while Google may be pulling back -- and possibly pulling out all together -- from the electronic medical records space.

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Microsoft is moving full-steam ahead with its healthcare push, while Google may be pulling back -- and possibly pulling out all together -- from the electronic medical records space.

Up until early March, Microsoft had been treating its Health Solutions Group as an "incubation," even though that group was staffing up and fielding a variety of cloud and on-premises health services and software. But on March 7, Microsoft moved the Health Solutions Group into the Microsoft Business Solutions organization headed by Corporate Vice President Kirill Tatarinov. (The analysts at Directions on Microsoft pointed out this organizational change, which a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed for me this week.)

Microsoft's HealthVault personal-health-record service, as well as the Amalga integration and analysis products are now in the same business unit as Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP products. Corporate Vice President Peter Neupert will remain the head of the Health Solutions unit, which will retain its own sales force and partner channel, Directions on Microsoft noted.

Google, for its part, seemingly is backing away from its Google Health initiative. The Wall Street Journal reported on March 26, in an article on Google's new priorities under Larry Page (who becomes CEO on April 4) that Google plans to provide "less support" to Google Health, going forward.

A March 27 research note posted by the Gerson Lehrman Group consultancy went a step further, stating that Google is dropping Google Health.

"Google Health being dropped is a setback for Electronic Medical Records (EMRS) in three ways: 1) Widespread adoption through cloud access; 2) Time-to-market and payback; and 3) Cross-industry collaboration," the Gerson Lehrman note said.

I asked Google officials whether the Gerson Lehrman note was accurate and what would happen to users' data if and when Google pulled out of the electronic health records space, and was told by a spokesperson that ""We don't comment on rumor or speculation."

Google Health competes head-to-head with Microsoft's HealthVault. Google Health, which Google had been developing since 2006, was released in beta form to consumers in 2008. Google Health is a personal health-records service. Google has signed up a number of health-provider partners as part of the initiative. There is nothing on the Google Health site that indicates that Google is phasing out the project, but there have been few (if any) updates to the Google Health site since last fall.

HealthVault also is a "personal health application platform," in Microsoft's words. Microsoft launched the beta of HealthVault in 2007 and went "live" with the HealthVault service in September 2009. In 2010, Microsoft launched a new HealthVault deliverable, known as HealthVault Community Connect, which is a SharePoint-based offering for managing medical-records-processing workflows, providing automation on the patient entry and discharge fronts.

In addition to HealthVault and Amalga, Microsoft also is offering identity- and access-management software for the healthcare industry via the Sentillion acquisition the company made in 2009. Microsoft also has a Healthcare Innovation Lab, and is working on introducing the Kinect sensor, the Surface multitouch table and Xbox technologies into its healthcare line-up.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Google, Health, Legal, Microsoft

About

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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25 comments
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  • Scary - MS has a poor security record

    and I don't want my vital stuff associated with them in any shape or form.
    itguy08
    • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

      @itguy08
      Poor security record? So your not confusing Windows PC's all over the world that get infected to Microsoft's ability to secure their network and infrastructure? Not sure I have heard of any data breaches of scale happening at Microsoft? I do hear about them from many other companies such as Google, but maybe I missed all the headlines?
      OhTheHumanity
      • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

        @OhTheHumanity

        Is MS Hosting this or making their inferior OS, and tools open to other companies to implement? #2 is a huge risk as few can protect against the inadequacies in MS software.

        And even Microsoft can't secure their stuff:
        http://www.itproportal.com/2010/12/24/microsoft-suffers-cloud-data-breach/

        http://www.scmagazineus.com/microsoft-acknowledges-windows-live-id-breach/article/151544/
        itguy08
      • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

        @itguy08
        Not to say that it doesn't happen at Microsoft, but to say it only happens at Microsoft is very false. Google got breached and they ran off with proprietary code? Seems that stuff should be deep inside the network and very hard to get to, but not at the likes of Google. Every company no matter who they be will experience data breaches whether it on Linux, Unix, Mac, or Windows. If the hackers are determined enough and have the resources they will find a way in.
        OhTheHumanity
      • He's just a hater

        @OhTheHumanity
        He'll say anything as long as it's negative when it comes to MS, so take what he says or posts with a grain of salt, and a margarita to wash it down with. ;)
        John Zern
      • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

        @OhTheHumanity Oouch. This must hurt.<br><a href="http://www.ofertareonline.ro/ferestre-termopan.html">Termopan</a>
        termopane
    • We don't trust you either

      @itguy08
      You shown us you know squat about what your talking about so i'm guessing your feelings on the subject matter carry no weight, and are of no importance to anyone.

      You keep your money under the mattress if you want, but throw away your crayon and try using a pen for once!
      Will Farrell
    • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

      @itguy08 It seems like you don't want your vital stuff, especially the brain, to be associated with anything at all.
      anothersmartguy
      • LOL!

        @anothersmartguy
        :)
        John Zern
    • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

      @itguy08 you are a babbling brook of misinformation. please give examples.
      jessiethe3rd
  • Why is Google even in this space?

    The mere apparance of the possibility of a potential for mining health care data for advertising (i.e. how Google makes money) should put a chill in any organization even considering a Google solution. Health Care information management should be a "not with a ten-foot pole" Google.
    matthew_maurice
    • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

      @matthew_maurice
      Just because Bing is smaller share than google, they aren't as interested in data mining? I would expect MS could be doing more aggressive data mining as they are growing impatient for more ad revenue out of it. Also of course, and a poor security track record. I'm sure even Health Vault contains legacy code as far back as DOS 1.0, which had no concept of security whatsoever. I will not trust MS at all with this in any way.
      deathjazz
      • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

        @willyampz
        Really you think DOS code is in a non-operating system application that was created in the past few years? If you go look at Google compared to Microsoft you will find one major difference. The source of revenue is much different. Google revenue = advertising dollars. Microsoft revenue = actual software sales and many avenues of revenue through many business units. So after understanding that you can see who is reliant on the ad revenue!
        OhTheHumanity
      • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

        @willyampz

        I'm sure it does - same as how SQL2008 has many of the same vulnerabilities as SQL2000. Or how Win 7 has some of the same as XP. Or Office 2007 vs Office 2000.
        itguy08
      • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

        @itguy08 again... your ignorance and misinformation strikes again.
        jessiethe3rd
  • Google cannot be trusted with medical records

    so this is a goood thing
    iPad-awan
  • Microsoft in Healthcare?

    As a practicing physician I must admit that I don't understand Microsoft's approach to healthcare. To date, the MS approach has been focused on HealthVault which would seem to be a flawed approach from a financial standpoint. As best as I can figure, HealthVault is simply a patient-controlled and patient-editable repository for personal medical information. Because it can be edited by the patient, it would not appear to me to be appropriate for clinical use. For example, I don't want a patient to remove alcoholism as one of their medical problems... something like that could have serious medical ramifications. The real money is in EHR solutions (the kind sold to physicians) and the often-necessary voice dictation system. These solutions are soon to be federally mandated and sold for at exorbanant prices (often 10-40,000 per physician per year). Meanwhile, MS has no solution in the works that I am aware of despite the fact that they are arguably in the best place to dominate this market. Imagine for a moment if MS released an application named MS HealthChart which leveraged a traditional Office interface and their expertise in SQL server. Success in this arena would grow their PC, Windows 7, Windows Server, Cloud computing, and Voice Recognition brands.

    Seems like another missed opportunity by Microsoft to me.
    NativeFloridian
    • Best done by smaller firms

      @NativeFloridian Regrettably, the kind of solution you're talking about is best delivered by a collection of sub-hundred-million enterprises, any one of which can be sued to death without taking down anything too big. That's because sooner or later. something will go wrong and the lawyers will assemble like a pack of wolves. Whatever vendors are involved will be sorry they ever entered the business.

      It's just the way things are now.
      Robert Hahn
    • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

      @NativeFloridian Look at Amalga ...
      bobabob
    • RE: Microsoft forges ahead in healthcare, while Google said to pull back

      @NativeFloridian maybe you should look into Amalga and what microsoft is going after...
      jessiethe3rd