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Microsoft Nabs Sentillion, Moves Deeper into HIT

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | December 15, 2009
Microsoft acquisition
Microsoft continues to muscle into the increasingly lucrative HIT sector with its purchase of Sentillion, a privately-held health information company.

The Redmond, WA-based software leviathan announced the acquisition Thursday. Financial terms of the deal, expected to wrap up by February, were not disclosed. Sentillion, a 110-person company founded in 1998, will continue working out of its Andover, Mass. headquarters.

In June, Microsoft and Sentillion agreed to package basic versions of Sentillion's single sign-on and context management tools with Amalga Unified Intelligence System, Microsoft's HIS platform, which MS bought in 2006 as part of its push into health care IT.

"In that model, we took a subset of functionality from a product known as Vergence, and we packaged it in a way that Microsoft could offer it as a module for Amalga customers. But there's limited functionality, and if customers want more capability, Microsoft would point them towards Sentillion," Robert Seliger, CEO of Sentillion, tells DOTmed News. "Now that complexity, now that we're one company, will be eliminated."

Just last month, these two Sentillion products logged in their 500,000th user, according to Sentillion. The single sign-on product helps doctors simplify their log in to sites or workstations. For instance, with certain tools on expreSSO, one of Sentillion's most advanced sign-on programs, doctors can log into their workstation by tapping against the computer the badge which they also use to gain access to the building. And the context management feature automatically switches all applications to a selected patient to prevent mixing of patient data.

Long-time friends

Although Microsoft and Sentillion struck the basic deal in June, Seliger says the two companies have worked together for a long time.

"We've had a relationship with Microsoft going back since the inception of the company," he says.

Nonetheless, the sale won't affect Sentillion's relationship with its other partners and vendors, Seliger says, although he's not sure how the company's future releases will integrate with Microsoft's products.

"There are new products in the works at Sentillion. What we'll be able to do with those things [with Microsoft products]," Seliger says, "is still an exciting but open question."