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Brandon Savage, Caradigm’s chief medical officer, at the company’s Bellevue offices this week.

The new company spanning multiple floors of this Bellevue office tower is no ordinary startup. It’s called Caradigm — think “health care” and “paradigm” — and it’s a 50-50 joint venture of two corporate giants, Microsoft and GE, created out of their respective health care technology units last year.

Caradigm has been operating quietly since its formation, but the company will start to unveil its plans next week at the HIMSS 2013 health-care technology conference in New Orleans, showing the “Caradigm Intelligence Platform,” the next generation of the Microsoft product previously known as Amalga.

Early users of the system include UW Medicine in the Seattle region.

The idea is to give hospitals, doctors and other health-care providers a better way to access, analyze and act on data — for example, by identifying patients at high risk of readmission, letting health care workers take steps to prevent that from happening. The system works in conjunction with healthcare information exchanges across different medical providers, and helps address broader population health, not just care for specific patients in individual facilities.

Caradigm is also announcing a series of third-party applications from independent software vendors building on its platform.

We visited Caradigm earlier this week to talk with Brandon Savage, Caradigm’s chief medical officer and a GE Healthcare veteran. Our first question was about how these two companies are fitting together, and what Caradigm doing. Here’s how Savage explained it.

GE and Microsoft were both solving half of the problem. Caradigm brought the two halves together to do it in the right way. The Microsoft side was very much focused on the technologies. You want to do integrated, accountable care — how do you make it so that hospitals and communities can work more effectively together, and be held accountable for outcomes. It’s not just that you see a diabetic patient, but that she actually has her diabetes managed better. Microsoft was doing a really good job in terms of building the platform. They had a strong technology used by places like the Mayo Clinic, Providence Healthcare were all doing very well with this platform. But there was a challenge in that many other organizations don’t have the insight, the foresight to really know how to apply technology. So there’s a limit to how many organizations were really ready to use that, and a limit to the innovation.

GE on the other side is a big health care company, a lot of expertise in health care. GE was doing a good job with all the use cases, signing up the customers, thinking about the problems that needed to be solved. But the performance of the platform, all of the application development framework, getting the ecosystem going, that’s where GE was challenged. So you can imagine if you take the expertise of both companies, you put them into Caradigm, we’ve got the technology, and we’ve got the idea of where it needs to go, and we’ve had the ability to put them together over the last eight months.

Caradigm’s system is built on Microsoft’s technologies, but Savage said that wasn’t a foregone conclusion when the company started. One of the end-user apps that the company will be showing at HIMMS is a native iPad application, in addition to a Windows desktop application. The software development kit for the Caradigm Intelligence Platform supports C#, Java and Virtual Schema.

Caradigm has 600 people total, with 150 at the Bellevue headquarters, including CEO Michael Simpson, a GE Healthcare vet.

Here is a screenshot of the Caradigm Care Management app, which helps healthcare workers understand a patient’s health issues and act to improve their status. It is being developed in collaboration with the Geisinger Health Plan. Click for larger image.

[Editor’s Note: Quote from Savage updated since original publication for accuracy.]

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