Microsoft Corp. has announced it has signed a joint marketing agreement with SAP America Inc., a subsidiary of SAP AG, through which the companies have agreed to work together to deliver solutions that meet the unique needs of the healthcare industry. The companies’ collaboration will seek to help healthcare organizations increase operational efficiency and reduce costs using software to automate and streamline processes that are today often manual or based on cumbersome legacy technology. The companies will focus their healthcare collaboration activities in the United States. “Healthcare is a complex industry, with slim margins, tight budgets and high administrative costs,” said Tim Smokoff, general manager of healthcare for the Worldwide Public Sector Team at Microsoft. “There is tremendous opportunity for these organizations to lower those costs and create value through the power of software. Together with SAP, we want to help the healthcare industry realize that value.” The combination of solutions from Microsoft and SAP is proven to reduce costs and create operational efficiency, with one of the lowest total costs of ownership on the market today. As an example, with more than 70,000 admissions per year, Montefiore Medical Center is one of the largest healthcare organizations in the United States and the dominant medical system in the Bronx borough of New York City. Working with SAP software enabling technology and utilizing the Microsoft suite of products for communication, Montefiore has been able to overhaul and streamline processes related to procurement including all purchasing activity. Concurrently, Montefiore was able to transform the institution to an online, real-time financial management system, including the budget process, significantly reducing the amount of time it takes clinical and administrative staff to complete non-value activities so that they can spend more time to support patient care. “Maintaining accurate, complete, up-to-date information on inventory levels and materials needs is critical to hospital operations,” said Charles Agins, vice president of finance, Montefiore Medical Center. “By providing this information in an easy-to-use format, our associates can enjoy a flexible work culture and at the same time stay focused on patient care.” For the healthcare market, SAP and Microsoft will collaborate to leverage existing technologies including Duet, the joint product from SAP and Microsoft to provide seamless access to industry-leading SAP business processes and information via the familiar Microsoft Office environment. Health organizations stand to gain a great deal by streamlining processes for their managers with Duet, especially when it comes to people and suppliers.