Shouldn’t $1.2B Yammer Buyout Tell Us Something?

Don’t know about y’all, but I’m a social media gal. I’ve used every system I could find for communicating in real time — including but not limited to Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Google Chat, AOL Instant Messenger, Meebo, Yahoo Instant Messenger and two cans with a string and attached keyboards.  It makes my work so much more efficient, I’m horrified I ever did without.

So, I guess I’m not terribly surprised that Microsoft put its official corporate seal of approval on the business uses of social networking technology with the purchase of business social networking firm Yammer.  The $1.2 billion in cash Microsoft paid for Yammer came as a bit of a surprise to this observer, but maybe I haven’t been paying close enough attention to the “social enterprise” space. Microsoft obviously has been.

Though this may be the biggest deal in the social enterprise space for some time to come, Microsoft isn’t the only company taking this tack. (For example, I know is pitching the social enterprise take as well.) Let’s face it:  the time when socially-networked communication was just for fun has come and gone.

And that brings us right around to where we should be, taking another look at how EMR vendors are meeting — or failing to meet — the challenges of the times.

To my knowledge, no EMR vendor has yet incorporated even lightweight social networking tools like IM into their core functioning, despite the immense value such conversations can capture. I know EMR vendors have many, many weighty problems to address just in managing their basic functionality, but we’re not talking about black magic, people. Wouldn’t it make sense to offer new, easy to use, familiar teamwork tools to professionals in an industry that relies on life or death teamwork?

And the market has spoken. With one kajillion and three registered Facebook users out there, a near-Google of Twitter users and multiple millions of heavy LinkedIn users out there, it’s pretty clear that people count on social sharing to conduct their business lives as well as their work lives.

At this point, I think getting some robust social enterprise functions into EMRs is more than sensible.  Epic?  Cerner? GE?  Whaddya say?

P.S.  For some ideas on how all of this might work, check out this piece posted on describing how social media and EMRs may someday merge.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • I recently listened to a webinar trying to explain a non-existant connection between social media and EHR. The truth is, social media is all about giving up your privacy, while EHR’s have privacy as their number 1 concern. They simply are not safely compatible. Sure, an EHR vendor can support their product on FB. But patients should not have anything personal anywhere near FB, twitter and the like. Email, preferably secured, properly protected patient portals; those are fine. And appropriate.

  • Practice Fusion does have an instant messaging system built in, you can add PHI because it is encrypted and thus HIPAA compliant. Login and click on the “My network” tab on the right hand side. You can message anyone with a fax or email and they will receive a PIN with the message, asking them to login to view the message.

    The next iteration is that entire charts will be able to be sent securely to any provider, not through fax or CCR. Stay tuned!

  • Albert, thanks for the update! Would love to know more as PF adds other social features.

  • Good business move for Microsoft. Hopefully the data/document sharing is more user friendly than SharePoint.

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