Microsoft buys healthcare I.T. company
in the United States
Corp. has startled the healthcare IT sector with its recent purchase of
a healthcare I.T. solutions company in the United States. It’s said to
be the first time the industry giant has acquired an IT solutions
provider in the medical sector.
In July, Microsoft announced its acquisition of Azyxxi (pronounced ah-zik-see),
an integration engine designed by a team at the Washington Hospital
Center, in Washington, D.C.
The system enables doctors and other healthcare professionals to quickly
access the patient information stored in different computer systems –
such as lab reports, drug histories and X-ray reports.
A high-level executive at the company said the corporate purchase is the
first step in a new healthcare I.T. strategy at Microsoft.
Peter Neupert (pictured), Microsoft’s vice
president for health strategy, told The New York Times: “You’ll find us
expanding to a suite of healthcare solutions.”
Azyxxi was first implemented in Washington Hospital Center’s emergency
department in 1996. Since then, it has been installed at six other
hospitals that are part of the MedStar Health group, a nonprofit network
in the Baltimore-Washington region.
The software is credited with helping the Washington Hospital Center
achieve impressive productivity improvements. In 1995, before the system
was introduced, the emergency ward handled 37,000 patients a year, waits
stretched up to nine hours, and there seemed to be an urgent need for
more doctors and rooms.
Currently, the emergency department handles nearly 80,000 patients a
year and 70 percent of them get a diagnosis, are treated or are admitted
in three hours or less. The staff has increased only 5 percent, and few
rooms were added.
According to Dr. Craig F. Feied, a principal designer of the software
and a physician at the hospital, the problem was mostly that patients
were waiting in rooms because doctors could not quickly find the patient
records, treatment history and other information they needed to treat
“We weren’t doctor-poor or bed-poor,” Dr. Feied says. “We were