Microsoft buys health info aggregator

Microsoft Corp. has taken another big step into healthcare by purchasing Azyxxi health information aggregation software developed for MedStar Health of Columbia, Md.

Under terms of the deal, Craig Feied, M.D., and Fidrik Iskandar—two of Azyxxi’s three creators—and about 40 others from MedStar’s Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., will join a new division within Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group. Washington Hospital Center will become a development laboratory for Microsoft.

Microsoft actually is acquiring Azyxxi from Datomics Licensing and General Datomics, entities started by the software’s developers. MedStar Health was a co-owner of General Datomics. No dollar figure was announced.

First used in Washington Hospital Center’s emergency department 10 years ago, Azyxxi pulls data feeds from dozens of sources and displays the information for clinicians at the point of care. It also stores “all of a patient’s routine clinical information,” according to Microsoft.

“Microsoft sees it as applicable to clincians and integrated delivery networks, not just a hospital system,” Washington Hospital Center ED chair Mark Smith, M.D., said at a press teleconference this morning. Smith, the other Azyxxi creator, will remain at MedStar but serve as clinical liaison to Microsoft for continued product development.

As far as I can tell, this is the first time the world’s largest software company has actually offered a healthcare-specific software package.

In other recent deals, Australia’s National E-Health Transition Authority announced earlier this month that it had purchased a national license for Snomed CT.