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Microsoft and HIMSS Expanding Healthcare User Group Across EMEA
Date:10/22/2007

Collaborative forum designed to connect healthcare communities throughout

region.

VIENNA, Austria, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- During the World of Health IT Conference and Exhibition today in Vienna, Microsoft Corp. and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) announced a broad expansion of the Microsoft Healthcare Users Group (MS-HUG) to partners and healthcare organizations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

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MS-HUG is an innovative forum designed to support the development of healthcare solutions and demonstrate how technology can help solve the challenges facing healthcare providers and social services, as well as Microsoft development partners around the world. MS-HUG achieves this by building cooperation and dialogue among information technology professionals and developers, corporate leadership and health organizations. This diverse membership currently comprises more than 4,200 members and 28 corporate supporters across North America, and is unified by a shared interest in implementing vendor- and user-developed software based on Microsoft(R) technology to improve healthcare quality and efficiency, while reducing complexity and cost. Ultimately, MS-HUG hopes to provide value to its members through education, communication, and access to information and experts.

The benefits of the MS-HUG program are being utilized by companies in the healthcare industry every day. According to Steven Schwartz, senior vice president of corporate business development at Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, "We committed to the Microsoft platform early in our company's development and have benefited from the relationships and support of companies associated with the Microsoft ecosystem of partners. We value our participation in MS-HUG and our ability to leverage the Microsoft platform, which has helped us become the leading provider of clinical software, connectivity and information solutions that physicians use to improve healthcare."

"Extending HS-HUG to Europe, the Middle East and Africa provides an expanded forum for sharing best practices and learnings from our own experience, as well as the experiences of our customers and partners," said Tim Smokoff, managing director of healthcare for the Worldwide Public Sector team at Microsoft. "This will enable our partners to strengthen their businesses and our customers to improve their services and achieve a stronger return on their investments by learning from others facing similar challenges, while improving health costs, quality and access for citizens."

By expanding the geographic reach of the program across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, MS-HUG EMEA will offer technology leadership and a base of knowledge for improving the delivery and efficiency of health-related services. The alliance provides HIMSS with specific and relevant expertise to aid in broadening its professional and industrywide contributions, and provides MS-HUG members with the opportunity to reach new markets with educational and professional development programs. This expansion has been designed with content and expertise specifically for HIMSS members across EMEA.

Partners and customers believe a forum such as MS-HUG EMEA is greatly needed. Quest Software Inc., a leading software supplier to health organizations worldwide, is one partner that sees strong benefits in the expansion of MS-HUG. "It is crucially important in the health sector today that IT best practices are shared to achieve higher levels of patient care quickly," said Kurt van den Eynden, director of the Microsoft Alliance at Quest Software. "Ensuring that our customers achieve value from their investment in healthcare technology is vital for Quest, and bringing the combined experience of health organizations and numerous partners together in a single forum is essential to delivering better health services."

Jos van der Zalm, CEO at DBS Business Solutions, agreed. "I want to keep up with the latest Microsoft technology. MS-HUG provides a safe, collaborative environment for me to learn and share."

HIMSS has focused on providing global leadership in the use of healthcare IT and management systems since 1961. With more than 20,000 individual members and over 300 corporate members, HIMSS frames and leads healthcare public policy and industry practices. According to Michael Strubin, executive director of HIMSS EMEA, "Managing MS-HUG enables us to further promote our mission to lead change in the healthcare information and management systems field through knowledge sharing, advocacy, collaboration, innovation and community affiliation. Ultimately our goal is to drive better patient care, and this is another step in that direction."

The MS-HUG EMEA community will be hosted within the existing MS-HUG site (http://www.mshug.org) and will include content, discussion groups and webinars from thought leaders in the healthcare and IT industries. The Web site is an ideal way for members in the region to access information and gain familiarity with the broad array of services available to them.

With the expansion of MS-HUG across EMEA, Microsoft and HIMSS believe they will be able to strengthen their commitment to better serve the industry through a shared strategic vision to provide leadership and health information technology solutions that improve the delivery of care to citizens.

About HIMSS

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is the healthcare industry's membership organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of healthcare information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. Founded in 1961 with offices in Chicago, Washington D.C., Brussels, and other locations across the United States and Europe, HIMSS represents more than 20,000 individual members and over 300 corporate members that collectively represent organizations employing millions of people. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare public policy and industry practices through its advocacy, educational and professional development initiatives designed to promote information and management systems' contributions to ensuring quality patient care.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


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