Microsoft's medical search engine now integrated into MSN

Microsoft has integrated fully into its MSN portal the Medstory search-engine technology. Medstory is expected to be a cornerstone of Microsoft's forthcoming healthcare platform and Live healthcare services.

Microsoft acquired in February 2007 Medstory, a search vendor focused on healthcare. Five months later, Microsoft has integrated fully into its MSN portal the Medstory search-engine technology.

Medstory, which was in beta at the time Microsoft acquired it, is aimed at both consumers and health professionals. Query results can be narrowed into categories such as clinical studies, procedures, personal-health information and more.

As explained in a July 9 posting on the Microsoft HealthBlog by Microsoft Worldwide Health Director Bill Crounse:

"The dashboard is made up of categories.  Under each category is a list of related health topics that are most pertinent to the search being performed.  The color bar next to each topic illustrates its degree of relevance to the subject of the search."

Further down in the HealthBlog post is information on why Microsoft believes Medstory is more than just a run-of-the-mill search engine:

"It is not enough, he says, to provide links to information. Search engines must become intelligent enough to understand a user’s intent. “We need a web that knows versus one that just links”, said (Medstory founder) Dr. Rappaport. 'We are moving the center of gravity of search to return an understanding of what the user wants.  Our core objective is to provide meaningful information that is also actionable.'"

Medstory is a planned element of the consumer healthcare platform that Microsoft is building. One component of that forthcoming platform will be a "personal health record," Microsoft officials have said. Such a record would include search results secured via Medstory, execs added.

Microsoft's forthcoming healthcare platform also is expected to include one or more Windows Live Healthcare consumer and business services.


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