Microsoft Amalga Brings Health Information Together

Microsoft's Amalga products provide access to any relevant patient information, regardless of data type.

Microsoft has created Amalga, an enterprise-class Unified Intelligence System designed to enable hospitals to access any patient data from any legacy hospital system, regardless of the type of data file it is based on.

Amalga UIS is the new version of the product formerly known as Azyxxi, said Davide Vigano, director of enterprise marketing for Microsoft's Healthcare Solutions Group. Amalga also provides electronic medical records along with PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) capabilities.

The Amalga family of products, which Microsoft demonstrated at the annual HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) event held Feb. 24-28 in Orlando, Fla., also includes Amalga HIS (Hospital Information System) and Amalga RIS (Radiology Information System)/PACS.

Vigano said that while the products are designed to address health care needs in various geographies, all three components of the Amalga family address one specific pain point for hospitals: not being able to access necessary patient data when needed.

"We were seeing customers asking patients for the same information over and over because these systems don't talk to each other," Vigano said.

Hospitals and other health care enterprises can use Amalga UIS to connect formerly separate data stores that contain any type of health care information, whether stored in clinical, financial or administrative application systems, without replacing legacy infrastructure, Vigano said.

While Amalga UIS is targeted for mature, complex health care markets such as those in the United States, the Amalga HIS component (formerly Hospital 2000) is designed for developing and emerging health care markets, Vigano said.

Amalga HIS combines an EMR system with clinical laboratory, pharmacy, radiology and imaging capabilities as well as financial and human resource systems, and is scalable and affordable enough for cash- and resource-strapped hospitals globally, he said.

"We're pricing Amalga HIS in a way that will be disruptive to the market, because it will be extremely affordable," Vigano said. However, he did not disclose specific product pricing.

Amalga RIS/PACS can be purchased as a stand-alone system for single radiology or imaging clinics, or can be integrated into Amalga HIS for use in hospitals and general care practices.

Amalga UIS is currently in the beta test cycle. However, Microsoft has seven early adopter hospitals using the product, including New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System.

Amalga UIS is scheduled for release by the end of June 2008, Vigano said, and an early adopter beta program is in development for Amalga HIS and RIS/PACS outside the United States.