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Microsoft Launches Fund to Enable Patient-Centric Health Solutions

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. today bolstered its commitment to improving people's health through software innovation with the announcement of the Microsoft HealthVault Be Well Fund and request for proposals. The $3 million initiative is designed to empower providers with targeted funding to stimulate the research and development of online tools that improve health. The announcement was made at the health IT industry's largest conference, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2008 Annual Conference & Exhibition. Microsoft and its healthcare industry partners will be showcasing early examples of provider- patient scenarios on the Microsoft HealthVault platform at HIMSS 2008, illustrating how the ability to maintain and persistently access a complete record of health information can lead to improved patient-provider interactions that help to facilitate better health outcomes.

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Microsoft Corp. today bolstered its commitment to improving people's health through software innovation with the announcement of the Microsoft HealthVault Be Well Fund and request for proposals. The $3 million initiative is designed to empower providers with targeted funding to stimulate the research and development of online tools that improve health. The announcement was made at the health IT industry's largest conference, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2008 Annual Conference & Exhibition. Microsoft and its healthcare industry partners will be showcasing early examples of provider- patient scenarios on the Microsoft HealthVault platform at HIMSS 2008, illustrating how the ability to maintain and persistently access a complete record of health information can lead to improved patient-provider interactions that help to facilitate better health outcomes.

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"Whether you are a healthcare provider or consumer, the inability to access information where and when it's needed is a huge source of frustration and can result in incomplete care and wellness decisions," said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president, Health Solutions Group, Microsoft. "As consumers begin to demand better health solutions, and providers look to better engage with their patients, the industry can benefit from a renewed push for innovative development that will bring to life yet-to-be-imagined Web applications that help people live longer, healthier lives."

The fund is aimed at stimulating solution development across a broad range of health disciplines that have the potential to improve health outcomes for both patients and health-conscious consumers. This supports the goal of the HealthVault platform, which is focused on creating an ecosystem of health solutions that accelerate connections between consumers, physicians and the information they need to make informed decisions — decisions that are appropriately personalized based on access to a complete view of an individual's up-to-date data.

Microsoft is soliciting proposals from areas that include, but are not limited to, the following:

— TRACK 1: Primary Prevention Applications Proposals targeting primary prevention could help people and caregivers create and maintain strategies that prevent or delay onset of disease by reinforcing healthy lifestyle factors and addressing modifiable risk factors such as hypertension and weight. — TRACK 2: Secondary Prevention Applications The identification of major modifiable risk factors (such as dyslipidemia, hypertension, smoking, obesity and inactivity) is a prerequisite to the implementation of preventative interventions — known as secondary prevention. Proposals in this category could help people and their caregivers measure things such as blood pressure, lipid profile components (LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides), diet and nutrition, weight, smoking, and activity level to create the optimal plan to prevent or delay morbidity and acute care. — TRACK 3: Acute Care Applications Certain conditions require immediate diagnosis and treatment, whether at the doctor's office or in an urgent care setting. Proposals targeting acute care scenarios might track progress, improve communication and share data between the silos in the healthcare system, providing caregivers with a longitudinal view of a patient's health history that ultimately may lead to superior outcomes. — TRACK 4: Juvenile Disease Management Applications Health conditions in children often require specialized detection, diagnosis and treatment. Parents typically become eager partners in the plan of care, and seek information specifically related to their child's condition. Proposals focusing on juvenile disease management might provide age- appropriate tools to help children, parents and caregivers understand and manage their conditions. — TRACK 5: Women's Health Management Applications Women's health issues can be complex and are often influenced by biopsychosocial and environmental factors. Proposals targeting this track might choose to create online tools or services that help manage health within the context of lifestyle and family. — TRACK 6: Community and Social Health Applications Patients and caregivers dealing with illness or people interested in wellness are increasingly sharing information and support with each other through various Web-based social applications. Proposals targeting this category might include applications for health in areas such as collaboration, communication and the use of social relationships to improve care.

Proposals will be evaluated on their potential to significantly advance the state of health in one or more areas of focus and demonstrate the potential for expansion into a large-scale program. The total fund pool is $3 million, with a maximum of $500,000 awarded for any individual proposal. All proposals will be reviewed by a panel of healthcare industry leaders, chosen by the Microsoft Health Solutions Group. Eligible organizations must be either an accredited degree-granting college or university with nonprofit status and awarding degrees at the baccalaureate level or above, or a research or health institution with nonprofit status. Private-sector organizations may partner with these institutions and qualify for the grant. All qualifying organizations must be based in the United States. Proposals will be accepted from Feb. 25 through May 9, 2008. Notification of the grant winners will be made July 1, 2008.

Proposals must make use of the Microsoft HealthVault platform, a free Web- based platform designed to put people in control of their health data, and leverage HealthVault Search to reinforce the project's value through contextual information and education. Use of non-Microsoft applications on Windows, cross-platform development, and interoperability with other operating systems and applications are all encouraged. The RFP is available at http://healthvault.com/fund. The HealthVault software development kit and further guidance on how to develop HealthVault applications can be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/healthvault.

Commitment to Interoperability to Push Industry Innovation Forward

The fund's push for industry innovation builds on Microsoft's recent announcement that the company will release HealthVault XML interfaces under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise (OSP). The OSP is a simple and clear way to help developers and solution providers working with commercial or open source software to implement specifications through a simplified method of sharing of technical assets, while also recognizing the legitimacy of intellectual property.

Further reinforcing the company's commitment to open interoperability, Microsoft is hosting a HealthVault community open source project — an implementation of the HealthVault API wrapper for the Java development environment — on Microsoft CodePlex, Microsoft's open source project hosting Web site. This will be the first of many projects designed to make it easier for developers and solution providers to use the language and framework of their choice to deliver HealthVault-compatible applications.

These two developments underscore the ongoing commitment of Microsoft's Health Solutions Group to foster a productive environment for developers, unleashing the potential of the HealthVault platform to transform consumer health. Additional information on the group's commitment to interoperability can be found at http://www.healthvault.com/HealthVaultSDK.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

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