By Adam E. John

General Electric, through its healthcare IT business, and Microsoft announced plans to create a joint venture. Upon formation, the new company will develop and market an open, interoperable technology platform and clinical applications.

The joint venture will combine Microsoft’s expertise in building platforms and ecosystems with GE Healthcare’s experience in clinical and administrative workflow solutions. The new company will deliver a open platform that will give healthcare providers and independent software vendors the ability to develop a new generation of clinical applications. The venture will develop healthcare applications on the platform using in-house developers and the platform will connect with a wide range of healthcare IT products. GE Healthcare IT will immediately be able to connect existing products to the platform.

The two parent companies bring complementary expertise to this new venture and will contribute intellectual property, including the following:

  • Microsoft Amalga, an enterprise health intelligence platform
  • Microsoft Vergence, a single sign-on and context management solution
  • Microsoft expreSSO, an enterprise single sign-on solution
  • GE Healthcare eHealth, a Health Information Exchange
  • GE Healthcare Qualibria, a clinical knowledge application environment being developed in cooperation with Intermountain Healthcare (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Mayo Clinic

The long-term vision of the venture is to create a healthcare performance management suite that includes many of these products.

In addition to the new joint venture, GE Healthcare and Microsoft will each maintain a strong presence in the healthcare IT industry, as both parent organizations will continue to sell other products and services to healthcare organizations around the globe.

The new venture complements the existing offerings from both parent companies and is expected to yield job growth in its first five years of existence. It will operate globally, offering interoperability platforms and application solutions targeting both healthcare providers and payers. Michael J. Simpson, vice president and general manager at GE Healthcare IT, will serve as the company’s CEO.

The new company, which has yet to be named, will be headquartered near the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash., with significant presence in Salt Lake City, Utah, and additional cities around the world.

Launch of the new joint venture is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected in the first half of 2012.