Aug 25, 2011 (11:08 AM EDT)
Microsoft Shuffles Healthcare Leadership

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On a day overshadowed by news of the resignation of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Microsoft on Wednesday shuffled its healthcare leadership team.

The company promoted Michael Robinson to general manager of U.S. Health & Life Sciences and shifted Dr. Dennis Schmuland into the newly created position of chief health strategy officer. Robinson, who has been with Microsoft since 2002, had served as GM for public-sector initiatives in the Middle East and Africa region, comprising more than 70 countries.

Schmuland, a physician and 10-year Microsoft veteran, had been the software giant's national director of health plan industry solutions. In his new role, Schmuland will set the direction for the company's interactions with various industry stakeholders, such as consumers, healthcare providers, insurance companies, life sciences organizations, and health and human services officials at all levels of government. He will report to Robinson.

Neither Robinson nor Schmuland was immediately available for interviews, but Robinson elaborated on the Microsoft In Health blog.

"Health reform has spurred a number of important changes from the adoption of electronic medical records to the establishment of state health insurance exchanges for consumers to manage their own health--but there's still more to be done," Robinson wrote. "As Microsoft's new general manager for U.S. Health and Life Sciences, I am excited by these opportunities created by the continued convergence of health markets and feel there is opportunity to bring about real change in the industry. Increasingly, providers, health plans and life sciences organizations are working together, dismantling traditional silos and sharing information to better manage and treat patient populations."

He went on to highlight some projects Microsoft is involved in, including a few with a mobile component, and of course trumpeted the company's healthcare products. Robinson does not actually have direct responsibility for products such as the data aggregator and healthcare intelligence platform Amalga, the HealthVault personal health records product, or security software Microsoft acquired from Sentillion in early 2010. Those are the bailiwick of the company's Health Solutions Group, headed by corporate VP Peter Neupert.

"I will also work very closely with Peter Neupert and his worldwide team. As the health leader in the company's largest subsidiary, it is my job to showcase the breadth of our offerings, including Health Solution Group's assets--such as Microsoft Amalga and HealthVault--to our growing U.S. market," Robinson said.

"By examining everything from consumer behavior, to environmental conditions and health literacy, together we will be able to identify ways in which Microsoft and its partners' technology can be leveraged to improve care delivery and empower the consumer while simultaneously reducing cost and complexity. What new technology would you like to see in order to tackle these challenges?" Robinson added.

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