Two months after after the initial coverage, Microsoft launched a health web site recently called HealthVault. The site has a library of information, like a health information search engine. You can store your medical history, immunizations and records from doctor and hospital visits. You can also store information about such as measurements from a heart rate monitor.
You can then email people secure access to the information. You can send health data to your doctor, members of your family, or anyone you choose. On a basic level it’s a repository of information about your health that is easy to share.
However, Microsoft wants to involve health care providers and others in the health care field to create custom applications for the site. Already the American Heart Association and American Lung Association are creating applications. Johnson & Johnson is developing a blood glucose monitoring system. Other companies are providing services for patients as well.
The site will be supported by advertising from their search engine. The biggest hitch to the system is that most doctors and hospital don’t have electronic records. Different providers use their own record systems that aren’t necessarily compatible.
They also have the challenge of signing on insurance providers. People are another hurdle, but because of privacy concerns, they are leery of putting their health histories online. Microsoft and Google are eying the health care industry. They will have to build trust, but like online banking, stock trading, and other services we access online, we will use the web to store and access health care information.