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27 December, 2011 - 17:05 By Tony Quested

Microsoft leverages Cambridge app to boost medical care

Dawson King, CEO Cambridge Healthcare

Microsoft has joined forces with startup Cambridge Healthcare Ltd to improve storage of patient medical data and deliver more effective treatment.

The alliance will be launched in early 2012 and will shoehorn medical information from a range of sources into one online fountainhead through an innovative new app.

Cambridge Healthcare Ltd (CHL) is currently working on the partnership agreement with Microsoft HealthVault for the New Year that will allow for the storage of health information from many sources in one online location.

It will provide a framework for NHS Trusts and commercial third-parties to develop apps that directly engage with patients and their healthcare professionals.

The resource will be accessible through the www.howareyou.com online platform.

CHL is now raising new funding to underpin global roll-out.

The blockbusting start to 2012 represents a stunning year for CHL. At the start of 2011 the company was little more than a set of sparkling ideas in the very active head of entrepreneur Dawson King.

Now, in just a few months, the company and the web based portal www.howareyou.com are truly up and running. Having raised seed capital from Cambridge based and overseas investors, the product is now “open to all NHS patients.

The core technology provides security enhanced data sharing and manages authentication, hosting and data modelling so that NHS Trusts can focus on building tools that citizens need to lead a healthier, happier life.

Thousands of patients have already signed up to the beta, hospital trusts planning pilot schemes and significant discussions under way in New Zealand and other overseas markets, including Canada and the US for either licensing or partnership agreements.

CHL is an unusual business model. Starting and continuing as a partnership with the NHS East of England and extending to all the NHS, the portal is accessible without charge to all patients and practitioners in the UK.

The revenue streams to finance the business will come from partnerships, licensing including international expansion, special services and information provision and through the apps store, which is expected to become very popular and grow quickly given the current development and take up of social media activities.

A number of press pieces have referred to www.howareyou.com as “the Facebook of healthcare”. Details of the exciting partnership with Microsoft Health Vault will show how www.howareyou.com will enable the applications and information aspects of the potential for a very extensive health apps store to be exploited.

Some of the key ‘third sector’ organisations are engaged now in either pilot studies with members being signed up (The Arthritis Trust) or thinking through with the company what special provisions might be needed to optimise peer communications using www.howareyou.com (Organisations working with Diabetes, ME., Cystic Fibrosis and others are in this camp). The power of peer communications and information exchange and aggregation is clearly a major attraction.

On the overseas front – The Blue Cross in New Zealand and GP consortia – there are active discussions of commercial arrangements and in Canada and the US and in Hong Kong, prospective partners and representatives are lined up.

The company is now engaged in next round equity financing and a number of private investors and venture firms are in active discussion. The director team of Dawson King – CEO and CTO – Alan Barrell  (commercial director) and FD John Martyn are working extensively in this area to secure funds for continued rapid growth.

Significant product development is planned and early in 2012 an online video consulting service will become available – without charge – to patients, doctors, nurses and practitioners – throughout the UK.

Online consultations are a key area for growth in the overall NHS plans designed to improve patient care and enhanced productivity.

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