RealTime IT News

Microsoft Makes Life-Saving Acquisition

In helping save your skin, Microsoft  may also be saving its own.

The Redmond software behemoth's every move and misstep has been under the microscope recently, but its acquisition of niche software maker Azyxxi is one that came in under the radar.

And the implications could be huge.

Azyxxi collects data from all information systems in a medical center, including patient records, EKGs, x-rays, CAT scans, and even streaming videos of all cardiac catheterizations and other angiographic procedures, according to Microsoft.

This is significant because traditionally, hospitals store imaging films separately from patient records, requiring additional retrieval time.

Azyxxi uses Microsoft's .NET Framework and Visual Studio .NET 2003, as well as ASP.NET, to create a Web-accessible version so that physicians can access medical records and images remotely from both desktop and handheld devices running Windows.

Microsoft is known more for developing platforms and encouraging its partners to develop solutions for particular vertical markets.

According to Laura DiDio, however, the company has also made forays into verticals in cases where it sees huge potential for growth, such as insurance, retail and even construction.

"With health care, they're trying to penetrate a very key strategic global market. It's a big, growing market, and it plays to their strength," DiDio told internetnews.com.

From a strategic standpoint, the acquisition allows Microsoft to remain a growth company while increasing its strengths.

"It's definitely a move to differentiate itself from the Linux folks," said DiDio. "You've got to go where they ain't.

"If you own the applications and the application stack -- all the other commodity things at the bottom of the stack -- the hardware and the server OS and the desktop OS will follow."

Thus Microsoft is actually accomplishing two ends. It is establishing a beachhead in a growth market and also demonstrating how the various pieces of its puzzle fit together.

In addition to being a showcase for the interoperability of Microsoft products, Azyxxi is easy for caregivers to use.

Craig Feied, a physician who helped design the solution, said in an article posted on Microsoft's site that it also gives physicians rapid access to medical information, which is particularly useful in emergency room situations.

"If you don't have the right data, it's easy to choose the wrong treatment and end up with a disastrous outcome," he noted.