TECH: HIMSS–Balmer, MSFT and some early thoughts

So I caught the bus outside the Ritz-Carlton (no I wasn’t staying there but a few government employees were!) which took a long roundabout route to the convention center. After the nice people in the press room gave me a tote bag I don’t want.

I staggered to the overflow room to see the video screen. Microsoft says Connect, Collaborate, Informed Decisions. We heard it from Steve Ballmer a lot. Not too sure where he was going with the talk beyond that other than to say that Microsoft rally really cares about health care, but he did have one really cool futuristic video about the future of health care technology…very reminiscent of the great AT&T “You Will” videos—not that they did the company any good!

Then he brought in some guys from Scripps to show us a very cool app for drug development. I think it lost the health care service audience totally, (including me) but it looked cool. I just had no idea why it was in his talk and why he couldn’t show a health care services app? Especially as Ballmer then said that Azyxxi (or whatever it’s spelt) is the most exciting piece of software in all of Microsoft. Not sure whether that’s a reflection of how good Azyxxi is, or of the rest of what his shops putting out!

Two announcements. First  MSFT has announced its Connected Health Framework (a software tool set for SOA in health care) One major gripe. Kaiser, Cisco, Partners, the UK NHS, now Microsoft. Can someone please come up with a name not including Connect and Health?

More interestingly for the Health2.0 crowd Ballmer also announced that they’re buying Medstory. Guess that’s why Alain Rappaport never wanted to talk to me! That’ll certainly shake up the search market in health care.

Then the lieutenant-governor of Louisiana, Mitch Landrieu came to offer his fairly genuine thanks that we actually showed up & that things are getting better—at least the tourist area of the French Quarter and the Convention Center. But he also laid into the emergency response system, and the fact that we haven’t rebuilt New Orleans. And he got a big hand when he said we don’t have the moral authority to build other nations if we don’t have the commitment to do it here.

UPDATE #1: Via Silicon Valley.com. Snip:

"Redmond’s intent regarding the booming health care industry
is reflected in the resources it’s throwing that way. The company had
six health care-focused staff members in 2000; now, its Health
Solutions Group numbers more than 600."

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  1. It’s a no-brainer for a deep pockets company like MSFT to want to get involved in HIT. We’re looking at a $2 trillion dollar industry that is 20 years behind the times in terms of digitalization, technological standardization and data mining. And now there is suddenly massive momentum to create and mandate the use of standarized, inter-operable health information systems.
    If it’s true that healthcare currently spends about 1-2% on IT vs. 6% in other service industries, then we’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars of new business in the next decade as healthcare gets up to speed. That’s true even if all this IT actually manages to keep the total healthcare spend flat.
    A company like MSFT can make massive investments up front, and also buy more successful start-ups when it wants to. It can pretty much guarantee that it will be a major player in a $100bn industry.
    Or does someone with more knowledge of the industry (Matt) have a different view? What are the best estimates for the HIT market size in the next few years?

  2. Matthew,
    good stuff on MSFT.
    Maybe you or others here can help me with the infatuation with keyword search for health – I like Medstory & all, but the exciting opportunities the concept specifically offers elude me. Sure, the rates for ads should be higher on good health-related results pages, but it takes awhile to generate the traffic that is chicken (egg?) to the ad egg (or chicken?)….
    Most important, make sure you get over to Snug Harbor on Frenchmen Street for the real jazz deal! Ellis Marsalis is there Friday nights – too bad you may have missed him….

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