Pfizer, IBM, Microsoft launch e-health service

A technology company backed by leading drug manufacturer Pfizer Inc., IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp., launched Wednesday offering a set of Web-based software and services aimed mainly at doctors with small, private practices.

New York-based Amicore Inc. is an ASP (Application Service Provider) offering tools to manage finances, patient information and doctor relationships with pharmacies and other health services firms. The company is making its services available immediately, it said in a statement.

Associated with the launch, Amicore said Wednesday that it has acquired a Connecticut-based health-care application company called PenChart Corp. for an undisclosed sum. Amicore will use technology and products gained through that purchase as an initial product offering.

The launch comes seven months after the joint venture was first announced. [See "Pfizer, IBM, MS plan outsourced IT services for doctors," March 30, InfoWorld.com.]Amicore is targeting a market it says includes 70 percent of the doctors in the U.S. working in small group practices. It will offer electronic-based systems for processing patient paper work, scheduling and billing, and it will rely on technical and industry services from its three backers.

IBM Global Services will head up installation and service at Amicore. The services division of the Armonk, New York-based IT giant will also offer Web hosting to Amicore's customers, IBM said.

Microsoft, meanwhile, will manage the technology infrastructure of the new company. The software maker said the Internet-based service will run on its .Net platform, Microsoft's new technology for enabling pervasive computing, as well as its .Net Enterprise Servers. Using the Web services associated with .Net, physicians who subscribe to Amicore's service will be able to access files and process paper work from a variety of computing devices such as PCs, cell phones and Microsoft's forthcoming Tablet PC, the company said.

The new company will be headed by Jim Fitzsimmons, who will serve as president and chief executive officer. Fitzsimmons, has founded three technology companies, including two in the healthcare industry, according to a statement.

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