Microsoft and Athenahealth Partner on Patient Information Sharing Solution

By Jennifer Lawinski  |  Print this article Print

Microsoft and cloud-based health information services vendor athenahealth are teaming up on a hosted solution that allows patient data to be shared between hospitals, doctors and patients.

Microsoft is teaming up with athenahealth, a web-based practice management, electronic health record and patient communication services vendor, on an electronic health solution intended to improve communication between hospitals, doctors and patients.

The cloud-based solution combines athenahealth’s hosted services – athenaClinicals and athenaCollector – with Microsoft’s Amalga enterprise health intelligence platform software. The combined solution enables the flow of information across health care delivery settings – from hospital to doctor’s office, both in-patient and out-patient.

"athenahealth and Microsoft share a common view on the importance of improving information sharing across the health system to address the 'data gaps’ faced by healthcare organizations striving to deliver optimal care," Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of Microsoft Health Solutions Group, said in a statement. "By connecting athenahealth and Microsoft’s complementary health IT assets, we can open new doors for health systems looking to reduce costs and improve care through the efficient, secure exchange of health information across ambulatory and inpatient settings."

Two health care systems have been selected to try out the solution: Steward Health Care System in Massachusetts and Cook Children’s Health Care System in Texas. Both already use athenahealth’s cloud-based HER platform and Amalga and are testing the connected solution for athenaNet to Amalga data sharing.

The hospitals will also work with Microsoft to push data from Amalga to its Health Vault online platform for collecting, sharing and storing personal health information. The projects should be completed in the second half of 2011.

"We are pleased to be an alpha site for the initial athenahealth-Microsoft collaboration that has proven the value of the alliance announced today. 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, in a statement.

"Outside of unique, advantaged organizations like Kaiser and the Cleveland Clinic, there are few examples of health systems with the connectivity to share data across the full enterprise. In most cases, the technology simply does not exist or is not cost efficient," said Jonathan Bush, Chairman and CEO of athenahealth.

"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. Our shared solution fittingly provides all sorts of opportunities for healthcare institutions to rise to the challenges of operating in a more complex environment than ever before, while at the same time providing the IT capabilities to deliver better, more coordinated care."