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Microsoft Releases HealthVault - A Lifelong Electronic Health Record

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 Health Record is called HealthVault.

I’ve been reading this Microsoft Health Blog for a while and as expected, there was a nice blog post about HealthVault. Read it with the knowledge that he works at Microsoft and you’ll get some good information and figure out where it is good old PR spin. Here’s just one example of where I think you need to read between the lines:

* 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.

This is a good list of information. However, the last one concerns me. I’m afraid that Microsoft “asking” to use your information will be something akin to a really long privacy policy that no one reads and everyone clicks through. We all know about these and it’s very common. However, is that really Microsoft “clearly” telling you what they’re going to do? Of course this is my speculation, but it’s a pretty common practice and I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft employs it in HealthVault.

I’ll have to save a full review of Microsoft HealthVault until I have more time to really dig my teeth into it. However, a few parting thoughts.

-I think that many people will use this, because most people aren’t afraid of sharing their medical history. Essentially the ones that have “nothing to hide.” More on this in the future.
-I hate that Microsoft uses the Net passport as the login. Give me a special login and don’t make me log in and out of my email passport and my health record passport.
-Microsoft needs to look at getting the info into their system using something like CCR. Otherwise, people just aren’t going to update it which basically renders it useless.



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