Following Microsoft Corp’s purchase of software and assets to streamline administrative and medical record-keeping at Bangkok’s Bumrungrad Hospital, Thailand has become Microsoft’s worldwide healthcare research centre. This is the third acquisition for Microsoft’s healthcare group but its first outside of the United States. The company is looking to enter the hospital-software market. The financial terms of the deal remain confidential, but the US-based giant said it bought software called Hospital 2000 and its intellectual-property rights from Luxembourg-based software company Global Care Solutions. Global Care has worked with hospitals in this country for seven years. Its 71 Thailand staff will also move with the deal. Bumrungrad, which owns 14 per cent of Global Care, saw its share price rise Bt1 yesterday to Bt45.50. Microsoft (Thailand) managing director Patama Chantaruck has reportedly said the company would establish a healthcare research centre in Bangkok and work with Microsoft centres in China and India. The Bangkok centre will work exclusively on healthcare software for worldwide sales. Craig Mundie, Microsoft Corp’s chief research and strategy officer, has also stated that his company would distribute Global Care products internationally, along with others developed by Microsoft. The healthcare industry spends USD 30 billion each year on hardware and software worldwide. Peter Neupert, vice president of Microsoft Corp’s healthcare group, said Global Care’s products would make a “great addition” to Microsoft’s portfolio of health-enterprise products as the company looked to power developing and emerging hospital systems around the globe. Global Care’s Hospital 2000 is an electronic-record system. Its integrated document imaging and delivery allows instantaneous scanning, storage and retrieval of both electronically generated and handwritten material. It serves both front- and back-office operations, including radiology, laboratories, pharmacies, discharges and transfers, registration administration and clinics and wards. Global Care sold the software to seven hospitals in five Southeast Asian countries: Bumrungrad, Singapore General Hospital, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Franco Vietnamese Hospital, Changi General Hospital, Assunta Hospital and Asian Hospital and Medical Centre.