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Microsoft and athenahealth to better connect hospitals, physicians and patients
By: Elena Bonfiglioli, Senior Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Health Industry, Worldwide Health Team, Public Sector, Microsoft
03 March 2011

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Microsoft and athenahealth, a leading provider of web-based practice management, electronic health record (EHR), and patient communication services to medical groups, have aligned to launch an electronic health solution that will improve the connectivity and communication between hospitals, physicians and patients.

As health systems focus on improving quality of care and reducing costs for specific patient populations, they need to coordinate care beyond the walls of a single healthcare facility. By enabling the flow of data across care delivery settings, the athenahealth-Microsoft solution will enable better care coordination across outpatient and inpatient physicians and settings.

“With Microsoft we have created what we believe to be a low-cost, rapidly deployable and infinitely scalable solution that gives healthcare professionals a single view of a patient’s activity — something that healthcare reform advocates have been striving to do for years,” said Jonathan Bush, chairman and CEO of athenahealth.

The alliance will leverage the companies’ respective strengths, specifically athenahealth’s unique approach to delivering services in the cloud and Microsoft Amalga’s powerful capabilities for collecting data from disparate IT systems and making it accessible and actionable. The athenaNet®-Amalga connector will enable health systems to see inpatient and ambulatory information in a single view. The aggregate data stored within Amalga, which can include clinical, operational, and financial data, also enables valuable analytics across individual patient encounters and populations of patients.

Steward Health Care System in Massachusetts and Cook Children’s Health Care System in Texas will be early adopters of the connected solution.

"athenahealth and Microsoft are bridging the information gap and providing clinicians the ability to access patient information from anywhere, regardless of its origination. This will improve our ability to drive efficiencies, improve quality and deliver truly coordinated care,” said Steward Health Care System CEO and President Ralph de la Torre.

These customers are also working with Microsoft to push data from Amalga to Microsoft HealthVault, a trusted online platform for collecting, storing and sharing personal health information, to enable provider-patient connectivity. These projects are expected to be completed in the second half of 2011.

“In the coming months, athenaNet and Amalga will provide Cook Children’s with true connectivity across our multiple IT systems, furthering the promise we made to this community to improve the health of every child in our region. Our patients and physicians will have access to an information platform that not only transcends physical location but also will evolve as knowledge grows to comply with changing healthcare requirements and rules,” said Rick Merrill, president and CEO of Cook Children’s Health Care System.

While this partnership is currently US-based, they serve as food for thought as we strive to make the delivery of care in Europe more cost efficient and more effective.

To hear more on what Jonathan Bush, chairman and CEO of athenahealth, and Peter Neupert have to say on this partnership, go here.

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