There is ample reason for Microsoft to slow the rush to buy health IT, despite the fact it's a member of the plan's chief advocate.
Microsoft is in no position to take full advantage.
While Microsoft does have a stake in this market through Amalga, and its Healthvault PHR operation, it is not yet ready for prime time.
Put its offerings, or its customer list, against foes like Cerner and McKesson and Microsoft comes up short.
It's also true that investing in IT infrastructure before we have a Clue as to what the industry will look like down the road may well be a waste of money.
In this fight, moreover, Microsoft seems to be on the side of the angels. Privacy groups want badly to slow down this train, and groups that were once ready to research the field, like Blue Shield, are backing off.
It's easy to agree with Microsoft. There are big hurdles to clear before we throw money at EHRs:
- Standards, or at least interoperability among vendor offerings.
- Checklists, at least the development of comparative effectiveness.
- Clarity on what the industry will look like, so we know what payment networks will look like.
If you put all these cobras in a box and close the lid for a year, Microsoft may well be the one cobra left with a full belly. That beats fattening up each cobra in turn.