Health Vault will store all its customers' health data, ranging from test results to doctors' reports to daily measurements of weight or blood pressure, online. Individuals then have access to those records any time, anywhere, via the internet—a great boon for those who travel a lot. Medical offices and hospitals who sign up for the service could easily send test results in digital form to the vault, and patients could authorise them in turn to have access to various, carefully circumscribed bits of their personal data. (The vault is open, The Economist)
The PHR comes complete with search functionality (courtesy of Microsoft owned MedStory) and search is actually the business model. Microsoft is betting that they can do a better, slicker job than anyone else and that customers will recognize that.
Microsoft isn't jumping into this alone, however. Over the coming weeks, announcements are expected from dozens of partners about HealthVault based products and services. In Bill Gates' op-ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal, he said:
No one company can –or should—hope to provide the single solution that makes all of this possible. That’s why Microsoft is working with a wide range of software and hardware companies, as well as with physicians, hospitals, government organizations, patient advocacy groups and consumers to ensure that, together, we can address critical issues like privacy, security and integration with existing applications. (WSJ online subscriber's only)
I haven't gone out and poked at it yet, but I will. If nothing else, I'm dying of curiousity to see what years of work has created.
Peter Neupert, VP of Microsoft Health Solutions, talks about HealthVault and its history.
The Consumerist on HealthVault
BusinessWeek: Microsoft Wants Your Health Records