Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has agreed to acquire Medstory Inc., a privately held company based in Foster City, Calif., that develops intelligent Web search technology specifically for health information. The acquisition represents a strategic move for Microsoft in the consumer health search arena and signals a long-term commitment toward the development of a broader consumer health strategy. Medstory employees will join the Health Solutions Group, a recently formed division at Microsoft that will manage product development and delivery. Financial terms were not disclosed, as part of the agreement between the organizations.
Unlike results from most search engines, Medstory’s results are based on intuitive search technology, which provides prequalified information to consumers and health professionals conducting health-related research. This unique approach provides users with intelligent guides to help refine and better target their searches. Users receive organized content that is more relevant to their search criteria and that enables better health-related decisions.
Healthcare IT is always touted as a hot area, but never seems to get the buzz, perhaps because processing medical paperwork is inherently boring despite the opportunities that abound. My last mention in relation to Microsoft was last July when the Health Services group it self was announced in connection with another acquisition. On the the other hand, Medstory seems to have very little to do with health care per se, and more to do with search technology.
Todd Bishop has more on the Medstory acquisition (it’s only a 10 person company) and more on Microsoft’s Health Solutions group which had a variety of announcements today at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference including the broad availability of Microsoft’s Connected Health Framework Architecture and Design Blueprint for service providers.
Update 2/27: In a talk to anlaysts, Ray Ozzie indicated “that while initially the Medstory technology will be worked into the company’s health solutions group, ultimately ‘it will be woven into the mainline search.’”