Microsoft is to buy Sentillion, a specialist in single sign-on technology for the healthcare industry.

The acquisition represents the latest step in the firm’s growing presence in the health IT market, further extending the capabilities of its Amalga product suite. 

Microsoft hopes to combine Sentillion’s technologies with its own Amalga Unified Intelligence System (UIS). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The technology giant says integrating the technology into Amalga UIS should make it easier for healthcare professionals to deliver better patient care by streamlining access to multiple IT applications and patient data. In June, Sentillion’s single sign-on technology was licensed by Microsoft for use in Amalga UIS.

Sentillion’s software integrates access to a variety of health care applications, removing many of the barriers of users having to connect and log-in to multiple systems.

Sentillion counts more than 1,000 hospitals among its customers. This includes a strong presence in the UK where clients include Great Ormond Street, Portsmouth, Chelsea and Westminster, Royal National Orthopaedic and Imperial College.

In October Basildon Thurrock became the latest NHS trust to sign a deal with Sentillion and in November the company said it now had more than half a million users.

"Microsoft and Sentillion share a vision of a connected health system in which the free and rapid flow of information, coupled with streamlined access to a hospital’s myriad health care applications, empowers doctors and nurses to perform their roles with greater insight, speed and effectiveness," Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of Microsoft Health Solutions Group, said in a statement.

By combining Sentillion’s context management and single sign-on technologies with Amalga UIS, a real-time data aggregation solution, Microsoft aims to give clinicians new insight about patients in real time and enable them to perform the tasks far more quickly.

Sentillion says it will continue to sell and support its products to new and existing customers while Microsoft invests in the long-term evolution of the combined portfolio of Sentillion and Microsoft health solutions.

“We will continue to support all of our customers, ranging from large care delivery networks in the US to Foundation Trusts in the NHS,” a spokesperson for Sentillion told E-Health Insider.

The company, which was founded in 1999, will become a subsidiary of the Microsoft Health Solutions Group. The company, which employs 150 staff, will continue to operate out of its corporate headquarters in Andover, Mass. The acquisition is expected to close in early 2010.

“We’re excited to build on the powerful foundation we have built over the past decade in product development, sales and marketing, customer relationships, and execution excellence,” said Robert Seliger, CEO of Sentillion. “With its commitment to improving health and the global resources it brings to bear, Microsoft is the perfect partner to expand our efforts worldwide.”