An announcement on Microsoft PressPass today reads:
Joined by nationally recognized medical providers, health-management device manufacturers and patient advocacy organizations, Microsoft Corp. today launched Microsoft® HealthVault, a software and services platform aimed at helping people better manage their health information. The company outlined its vision for ways that HealthVault can bring the health and technology industries together to create new applications, services and connected devices that help people manage and monitor their personal health information, including weight loss and disease management, such as for diabetes.
Joining me for today's podcast is Peter Neupert, VP of Microsoft's Health Solutions Group. Our discussion begins with some backstory, including:
- Lessons learned at Drugstore.com, where Peter was president, CEO, and later chairman.
- The significance of Microsoft's acquisition of Azyxxi's health-oriented data management technology.
- The significance of another acquisition, Medstory, which brought health-oriented search technology to the table.
Then Peter dives into the substance of today's announcement. The rationale is straightforward:
People want to be able to collect, and securely store, and share their private health care information which is today scattered all over the place, with doctor A and doctor B and hospital C, and wherever they were born. When you need it, it's very hard to recreate. If you're the family health manager -- the mom trying to take care of the kids -- you'd like to have all that in one spot. And oh by the way, by having that data in a data store that's accessible to third party applications, you might be able to get more value out of it.
There are two ways data can flow into your health vault. You can transmit it yourself, if you're using an electronic monitor -- say, for blood pressure or blood sugar -- that can connect to your PC and thence to the HealthVault. Alternatively, if your hospital's clinical systems can connect to HealthVault, you can authorize those systems to transmit data into the vault.
We've built the platform. We've implemented APIs both for devices and for applications. And we've created privacy and security policies to enable this very unique thing: arbitrary sharing of secure and private data with a third party application that I'm in control of.
Who will pay for this combination of software and services? Advertisers.
We've made it free to consumers and to software developers because we believe that when I'm doing my health query on skin cancer, I not only want to learn, I want to know how to take action. That enables us to deliver value to the consumer and to monetize at the same time.
As both patients and doctors know too well, the application of information technology to health care has, to date, focused mainly on the payment process. Today's announcement is an important step toward making better use of IT for actual health care.