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Microsoft to buy Sentillion for health care software

The goal is to offer integrated technology that can help health care providers more easily access patient data from across multiple sources.

Microsoft is adding another player to its portfolio of health care offerings.

The software powerhouse said Thursday that it plans to buy Sentillion, a privately held company that supplies software to health care professionals. Microsoft hopes to combine Sentillion's technologies with its own Amalga Unified Intelligence System (UIS). The goal is to offer integrated technology that can help health care providers more easily access patient data from across multiple sources.

As doctors and hospitals ramp up to make better use of e-health technology, they face a confusing array of tools and systems that could make their jobs more difficult. Through the Sentillion acquisition, Microsoft said it wants to streamline access to different IT systems for health care providers, reducing the amount of time they spend struggling with the technology.

"Microsoft and Sentillion share a vision of a connected health system in which the free and rapid flow of information, coupled with streamlined access to a hospital's myriad health care applications, empowers doctors and nurses to perform their roles with greater insight, speed and effectiveness," said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of Microsoft Health Solutions Group, in a statement.

Sentillion's software is meant to integrate access to a variety of health care applications--Windows-based, Web-based, and older legacy software, said Microsoft. Sentillion counts more than 1,000 hospitals among its customer base.

Microsoft's Amalga UIS also tries to integrate the vast quantity of information available from different databases and health care systems for doctors, nurses, and administrators. Microsoft said that Amalga UIS is now used by more than 115 hospitals, such as New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Staying at its headquarters in Andover, Mass., Sentillion will continue to supply its own products to both new and existing customers, while Microsoft will focus on combining the health care technologies of both companies.

Microsoft expects the deal to close in early 2010. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Like other tech firms sensing a good opportunity, Microsoft has been aggressive in the health care arena. But as head of the company's health care division, Neupert also has urged the government to proceed cautiously and spend money wisely in its attempt to digitize the health care industry.