HealthBlog

Thoughts, comments, news, and reflections about healthcare IT from Microsoft's worldwide health senior director Bill Crounse, MD, on how information technology can improve healthcare delivery and services around the world.

Microsoft HealthVault: A Place to Search, Store and Connect Health Information for You and Your Family

Microsoft HealthVault: A Place to Search, Store and Connect Health Information for You and Your Family

  • Comments 16

As a physician, I know how important it is to have access to my patient's health information.   As a patient, I know how frustrating it is to have my health information scattered across multiple doctors, ambulatory clinics and hospitals.  As a care manager for my elderly parents, I've experienced firsthand how difficult it is to keep track of their doctor appointments, medications, and medical problems.

Today, in Washington, D.C., Microsoft is announcing a new tool that will begin to bring order to this chaos.  It's called HealthVault; an environment of new online services to help people SEARCH, STORE and CONNECT their health information, putting them in control of  their, and their family’s health and wellness.

HealthVault, designed with security and privacy in mind, is built on the principle that people should have a copy of their own health information, have control over it, and be able to share their information with whomever they choose.  I think many people are going to proclaim, "It's about time!".

Using HealthVault, people will be able to store and control an array of health information, including prescription medication lists, health histories, hospital discharge summaries, lab results, fitness data and search results.

In addition to being a place to securely store and share personal health information, people can also use HealthVault to access and put to practical use a variety of new health services and home health medical devices.

Microsoft HealthVault Connection Center will make it possible for people to upload health-related data, such as that taken from blood-pressure cuffs, heart rate monitors, blood glucose monitors and peak flow meters. The technology is straightforward and makes it easy to confidently share health information with family, caregivers or physicians. With the support of partners that will develop these services and devices, Microsoft has committed to a platform that is free to consumers, inclusive of industry standards and trusted through robust privacy and security safeguards.

Speaking of privacy and security, I know that nothing is more important when it comes to your personal health information.  The HealthVault platform is underpinned by the following clear, strong health privacy commitments:

  • The Microsoft HealthVault record you create is controlled by you.
  • You decide what goes into your HealthVault record.
  • You decide who can see and use your information on a case by  case basis.
  • Microsoft does not use your health information for commercial purposes unless you are asked and you clearly tell Microsoft they may.

Rest assured, we know that transforming healthcare is an incredibly complex challenge – one which no single organization can solve alone. It will require the participation of leaders in every sector of the healthcare ecosystem if success is to be achieved.  However, with Microsoft's broad customer reach, extensive software platform and broad partner community, we believe that we have the depth and breadth required to help transform the way people and providers connect with health information and  services. 

You can learn more about today's launch of HealthVault by clicking on this video clip with Microsoft Health Solutions Group Corporate VP, Peter Neupert and Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation.

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I'm pleased to announce that more than 40 other innovative organizations – from leading medical providers, health management device manufacturers, and national health agencies are embarking with us on this challenge to bring the health industry into the Internet age.  We invite the rest of the health industry to join us. 

Bill Crounse, MD   Worldwide Health Director   Microsoft Corporation

  • I tried to create my PHR, unfortunately I couldn't - as I reside in Mauritius.

    By when will HealthVault be available to those outside US ?

    "spsood"  [at]   g m a i l

  • Dear Sanjay,

    Thanks for writing.  Yes, HealthVault was launched for the US only.  I do not have information on our Health Solution Group's plans to launch similar services overseas.  However, as a global technology company I'm sure we'll duplicate HealthVault for other countries eventually.  I also expect that Microsoft's entry will stimulate a lot of market activity and that other companies will develop competing services.  All of that will be good for consumers.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  • Today I’ve been reading about the news that Microsoft has entered the health care space with a major offering that will certainly make Google and Google Health take a hard look at their electronic medical record plans. Microsoft’s Lifelong Electronic

  • そういえば、レッドモンドのマイクロソフトに行ったとき、説明してくださったどなたかが、ProviderにAzyxxi、ConsumerにMedstoryに加えて数週のうちにもうひとつ公にする予定があると言われてたような気がします。すみません、英語だと記憶が定かでなくて(笑)。下記を見たときにそれを思い出しました。詳細はこれから勉強したいと思います。 リンク: HealthBlog : Microsoft HealthVault: A Place to Search, Store and Connect

  • Dr. Crounse,

    Could you please comment or give your thoughts on the following? Many thanks in advance!

    I'd like to know what good HealthVault or any other EHR would be in cases of emergencies when a patient arrives at the ER unconcious or incoherent? A medicalert bracelet or keyfob would be most likely useless when the patient is arriving to the ER after a car crash or some similar accident as these items would most likely not be with them.  I say the FDA Approved Verichip answers this question quite easiliy.  Just ask the New Jersey police officer who had a Verichip implant and arrived at the ER unconcious after a high speed chase ended in a crash.  His Verichip was scanned and immediately informed the attending doctor of the officer's EHR file.  To achieve true portability of one's health records technology such as the Verichip is needed, would you not agree?  

  • Goinglong,

    Thanks for your comment and question.  It is important to understand that HealthVault is a kind of platform or "operating system" for health information.  The whole idea is to create an ecosystem upon which health information solutions and services can be provided.  Healthcare organizations, health plans, provider groups, employers, technology companies and others can develop services and solutions for consummers that "run" on HealthVault.  So whether a solution relys on Verichip or some other means of authentication to provision a service on HealthVault, that shouldn't be a problem.  Of course, HealthVault users have ultimate control over their information, and they can grant access into their HealthVault account to trusted partners like their personal physicians.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  • Thanks for the feedback Dr. Crounse, much appreciated!

  • Dr. Crounse,

    I thought you might find this news  item out today of interest!  Take care.

    http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/071114/20071114005086.html?.v=1

  • Just to comment VeriChip has its VeriMed PHR that actually does what you are looking for. Not only locally but worldwide. Actually if you are in another country and that Physician logs on, it will display in its local language, not only that; they also have a cool backend backbone that handles a very sophisticated business operation. My praise to its Directior of IT who designed and developed all the system.

  • Thanks Petter!  Have you or a family been chipped yet?  I am waiting for it to come to the Chicago area, not for myself but my elderly parents will be getting the Verichip.

  • To see this, I agree to your thought, too.

  • Dr Crounse, I am interested in finding out the standards and guidelines in place for a patient's access to their medical records. Do you have any information on this?

  • Ngozi,

    Thanks for writing.  The so-called Patient Bill of Rights movement has received a lot of attention.  It all started with HIPAA legislation and has broadened to include lots more.  You find a Patient Bill of Rights on the web sites of many hospitals, clinics, federal agencies, professional organizations and foundations.  One of those "rights" is the right to your personal medical information.  It may not always be easy to get and especially not easy to aggregate from all the places you receive care, but if you ask it must be given (at least a copy of it, that is).  Services like HealthVault, Google Health, Revolution Health and others are driving consumer demand for personal health information and I believe will be very helpful in the modernization of healthcare delivery and personalized medicine.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  • Dr Crounse,

    Is it possible to get information on the type of access patients have to their records? Can they edit them? What technology standards are being used? I am writing a dissertation on the topic of patient access to medical records and this information would be very useful.

  • Ngozi,

    Thanks for writing.  Patients can contribute their own information to their personal health record, but they cannot edit information that is supplied by their healthcare provider.  HealthVault also offers an audit trail.  A review of the technology is beyond the scope of this comment section on HealthBlog.  If you send me your e-mail address I may be able to supply additional information.

    Bill Crounse, MD

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