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Microsoft Releases Connected Health Framework for Health Plans to Help Reduce Costs and Complexities


Consumer Engagement Reference Architecture becomes first stand-alone module under new blueprint; both are available for download today on the MSDN Healthcare Industry Center.

LAS VEGAS — Microsoft Corp. today announced the broad availability of the Connected Health Framework for Health Plans, a free, open and extensible reference architecture to help health plans drive out the costs and complexities of interconnecting core systems, service channels, new applications, consumers, devices and business partners and rapidly seize new business opportunities.

Launched today at the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Annual Meeting, June 20–22 in Las Vegas, the blueprint is a “real-world” service-oriented reference architecture that enables health plans and industry solution partners to focus on immediate business problems and apply IT solutions in incremental steps to deliver near-term business results — regardless of platform or original programming language.

As the first of several “building blocks” to be released under the Connected Health Framework for Health Plans, Microsoft is also simultaneously releasing the Consumer Engagement Reference Architecture (CERA) as a stand-alone module. Unhealthy behaviors — such as smoking, eating poorly and not exercising — drive up the prevalence of chronic diseases that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, already affect 30 percent of the U.S. population and account for more than 75 percent of medical costs. The CERA provides health plans with an architecture to proactively and interactively engage consumers in their health within the context of their existing lifestyle at work, home and on the go, making it more natural for consumers to make better informed financial and clinical decisions and self-manage their risks and conditions and health risks.

“Continued IT heterogeneity, combined with healthcare payer market consolidation, has driven increased interest in service-oriented architecture (SOA) in 2007,” said Janice Young, program director, Healthcare Payer Research, Health Industry Insights. “A service-oriented architecture strategy provides health plans with a more cost efficient and flexible solution to rationalize business processes across the legacy and heterogeneous platform environment. We believe SOA strategies will play a key role in personalizing and streamlining the external experience between payer, their customers and business partners.”

Microsoft’s Connected Health Framework for Health Plans helps health insurers of all sizes integrate and access existing IT resources, assemble them into larger business processes and make the outputs available to users, resulting in more effective communication, innovation and further competitive advantage. This approach to SOA enables organizations to align their IT assets with changing business requirements and deliver on business goals one need at a time.

“Health plan executives are under increasing pressure to improve member health and quality of care, while simultaneously controlling rising medical costs,” said Dennis Schmuland, U.S. health plans industry solutions director at Microsoft. “The release of Microsoft’s Connected Health Framework for Health Plans greatly helps support interoperability based on open standards, direct-to-consumer channels, the delivery of actionable insights within the context of the consumer’s familiar digital lifestyle, and end-to-end collaboration with providers and partners.”

The architecture and design blueprint is available at no cost (connect-time charges may apply) for download from the Microsoft® Developer Network (MSDN®) Healthcare Industry Center, at


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