Pfizer, IBM and Microsoft have jointly announced the launch of a newly formed healthcare technology applications company targeting the US office-based physicians, in a collaboration first announced in March.

The new privately-held company, named Amicore, will focus on reducing physicians’ administrative workload and paperwork, by providing workflow and connectivity solutions.

Plans call for the system to use the very latest in Internet and wireless technologies, such as hand-held computers and tablet PCs, to help doctors issue prescriptions, check lab orders, run their offices and even communicate by e-mail with patients. The system will be based on Microsoft’s .Net platform and use IBM’s expertise in Web-based services and hosting.

Although Pfizer will not directly promote its products using the system, its network of sales representatives will ensure physicians are aware of Amicore’s capabilities.

In an early move Amicore has completed the acquisition of Penchart, a healthcare applications company with unique clinical workflow software, to form the core of the company’s initial product offering and accelerate its product development strategy.

Amicore will begin operations immediately and has already begun to apply the industry knowledge, expertise and technology of Pfizer, IBM and Microsoft. The company, with its independent sales, marketing and product development staff, has its current headquarters in New York City.

According to Amicore a recent customer study showed that PenChart software almost entirely eliminated the cost of filing and retrieving paper medical records and reduced the cost of ordering prescription refills and of transcription services by over 80 percent.

The new health technology applications firm will focus on the needs of the 70 percent of the doctors in the U.S. who work in office-based practices, particularly those in smaller group practices. The Amicore Practice Suite, based on state-of-the-art clinical workflow software developed by the PenChart Corporation, uses an electronic patient record to automate and streamline clinical workflow.

The product uses wireless pen tablet PCs as well as other mobile devices and runs on the Microsoft Windows platform. Amicore says that the Microsoft .Net technology used will enable it to offer physicians critical data any time, any place using a pen Tablet PC or other smart mobile devices.

In the future, physicians will also have the option of using the Amicore Practice Suite as part of a Application Service Provider service. Amicore says this will allow clinical and office data to be remotely accessed from a secure IBM eServer with full privacy over the Internet.

"Pfizer has clearly seen the tremendous administrative burden faced by physicians and their need for solutions to improve their business practices and cut down on paperwork so that they can focus more time on practicing medicine," said Peter Brandt, senior vice president of finance, planning and business development for Pfizer.

Russell J. Ricci, M.D., general manager IBM Global Healthcare, said: "Physicians will be attracted to Amicore for two key reasons. First, Amicore is backed by Pfizer IBM, and Microsoft – each with core strengths and a recognised brand. Second, Amicore will use IBM’s Global Services for installation and service and to provide low-cost, reliable IBM Web-hosting with full security and privacy of electronic files."

“Microsoft is committed to helping the healthcare industry and its providers reduce paperwork and streamline the practice of medicine,” added David Lubinski, public sector and healthcare general manager, enterprise sales and industry group at Microsoft. "The Microsoft .Net technology platform will enable physicians to practice medicine any time, any place, on any device."