Microsoft health strategy should change, here’s how

Windows 10 in healthcare

For many years, Microsoft has been reacting to the outside forces, namely Google and Apple, entering new markets and making somewhat awkward moves that are beyond its traditional areas of expertise. Acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, Zune media player, are some of the examples. Also, the Redmond giant was slow to react on the new wave of smartphones, the fact that made its Windows Phone platform virtually invisible.

In the healthcare setting, Windows keeps dominating the landscape and with the brand-new Windows 10, Microsoft wants to cement its position as hospitals’ platform of choice. Moreover, it is looking to ride the Internet of Things revolution and put Windows 10 to additional devices; but that won’t be an easy ride…

Not the only platform on the block

When buying tablets, most healthcare facilities will go for the Apple iPad or some Android-based device.Windows is no longer the only operating system hospitals are using. More often than not, when buying tablets, most healthcare facilities will go for the Apple iPad or some Android-based device. A majority of computers will keep running Windows, but it’s only natural that Microsoft wants to see more Windows-based tablets used by health workers. There are some hospitals which opted for the Surface Pro 3, but chances are they will be a minority considering the high cost of Microsoft’s portable PC (cause it’s really more of a full-blown PC than a tablet).

What’s more, Microsoft is challenged by a number of wearables most of which don’t sing along Windows or Windows Phone. Tackling that “issue” will take both time and money. The latter, obviously, is not a problem for the world’s biggest software maker.

Microsoft’s health strategy

In the next few lines we will be outlining what we think Microsoft should do to increase its presence in the medical community. This is by no means Microsoft’s official strategy, but an idea what could be done to achieve the goal of making Windows as ubiquitous as it once was.

Don’t make hardware, except…

…if it’s platform-centric device. In other words, Microsoft Band is cool because it’s part of Microsoft Health, the platform that is competing with Apple’s Healthkit. Better yet, Satya Nadella and his team should convince other hardware makers to optimize their gadgets and apps to sing along Microsoft Health. More on that later.

Another device Microsoft could make would be a Qualcomm 2net-like product, which collects data from other medical devices. Also like Qualcomm, MS should make sure its device is clinically tested and has all the approvals needed to be used in the hospital and/or wherever it’s needed.

Push other companies to use Microsoft services and platforms

The Redmond giant should pitch all interesting players towards Windows and its services like Microsoft Health and Azure. They could bribe / provide incentives for major hardware and app makers to release versions of their apps for Windows. Fitbit announced a Windows 10 app, but Jawbone hasn’t. Perhaps Microsoft could help them in the process. And repeat the same with any number of companies whether they make health record solutions, wearable devices or fitness/health tracking apps. Also, they could provide *really* good deals for genomics researchers to put part of their work on Azure.

Make small(er) acquisitions

Adding new bells and whistles to the unifying Windows 10 would make the platform more appealing to the consumers. Add fingerprint sensor to the mix, and Microsoft could help users get their health records whenever they deem necessary. This could be done by acquiring some of the established EHR solution provider, and we’re not necessarily mean the likes of Cerner and Epic, but smaller players like ChartSpan and Hello Doctor which make it easier for users to get their health records from doctors and other healthcare facilities.

The Redmond giant should pitch all interesting players towards Windows and its services like Microsoft Health and Azure.Another interesting area could be smaller platform providers. By acquiring these companies, Microsoft could put its solutions in the center of the healthcare continuum. Or at least, play a more prominent role. Here are a few companies that we think are interesting for acquisition:

  • Validic – which provides healthcare companies with one mobile health API connection to access data from a number of mHealth apps and devices.
  • Nudge – which touts itself as a “healthy lifestyle hub bringing together the data from your favorite apps and gizmos in one place, with one score.”
  • PokItDok – a cloud-based API platform designed to make healthcare transactions more efficient and streamline the business of health.
  • Human API – that allows healthcare provider to integrate data from multiple sources.
  • BaseHealth – maker of an API that gives developers the ability to integrate genomic data and health assessments into their health and wellness apps.
  • Akido Labs – another API maker that helps app developers make solutions that tune into hospitals’ health record systems.

The list could also include any number of startups making the news rounds these days. The point is not to make big acquisition, but smaller ones to get technology and talent.

Not just Microsoft

Microsoft is not the only one who could benefit from the strategy outlined above. Other big companies like Amazon, Apple, Google or even Facebook could also benefit from similar action(s). We just thought Microsoft is “best suited for the job,” as it is facing competition in the space where it previously didn’t have (that many) competitors.

Also, the list of interesting acquisition targets will be the subject of one of our future reports, where we will share information on why a certain company is interesting target and who could be their buyer. This report, among other things, will be available to our Premium members, only. 😉