John Moore, who blogs over at Chilmark Research, always presents EMR and PHR issues with great clarity and knowledge. He recently attended the Microsoft Connected Health Conference and posted a blog note about some of the impressions that he gained there (see: The Borg Lives in Healthcare). Below is an excerpt from his note concerning the strategy that he believes Microsoft in pursuing with regard to Amalga and HealthVault, with boldface emphasis mine:
John is right on all counts but I can't say that any of this comes as a surprise to me. On September 30, 2008, I presented my view of the emerging Microsoft strategy (see: Some Clues About the Microsoft Healthcare IT Strategy). Here is an excerpt from that note:
Microsoft's healthcare strategy is more obvious to me at this time than that of Google and consists of at least the following...elements:
- Develop a hospital EMR with Amalga starting with selected alpha sites as noted ...above. The company will thus be able to determine whether their product is competitive in the U.S. market.
- Sign high-profile deals with major health systems...to offer the HealthVault PHR to patients served by these health systems.
I would like to take some credit for my predictions of nine months ago but I won't -- it was just too obvious. Microsoft's was faced with two options after it purchased the Amalga EMR: (1) sell hundreds of millions of dollars of EMR software to hospital executives with HealthVault as a dangling appendage; or (2) distribute HealthVault to consumers free of charge and with no reliable business model to generate revenue for the company. It was clear to me that Microsoft would be much more comfortable and accustomed, from a corporate culture perspective, to participating in power lunches with hospital executives than working with the more demanding and vocal healthcare consumers. For their part, hospital executive are also most comfortable with bulky, over-engineered software that takes months of training to use properly and may never work as expected. Any after all, this is the type of product that Microsoft surely knows how to deliver. No need to cite product names here.