Patients want to see, feel, handle and distribute their health information the way they do their bank records, Microsoft says.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.-Microsoft's doing all
it can to empower consumers to find, analyze, manage and securely share their
own personal health information in the name of greater knowledge and,
ultimately, better health, the company says.
Steve Aylward, Microsoft Health & Life Sciences Industry general
manager, told attendees at Microsoft's Health & Life Sciences Developer and
Solutions Conference held here April 22 to 24 that the health care industry has
been mainly focused on meeting the needs of health care payors and providers,
to the detriment of individual consumers of health information and services,
who have very different needs. Aylward said health care consumers demanded the
type of self-service, any-time access to resources and information that they
were used to from other consumer-driven industries like banking, financial
services and even retail, he said, including the ability to view and modify
health information online and to communicate with physicians and clinical
caregivers via e-mail, text messaging and instant messaging.
Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Health Solutions
Group, added that while consumers are using the Web to make their interaction
with other types of personal information in the physical world easier, that
kind of interaction doesn't happen in health care.
"There's a lot of things we do in retail [and] financial services that
we can't do when we're interacting with the health delivery system,"
Consumers already have access to and are familiar with technology that allows
them to manipulate personal information and communicate and collaborate any time,
anywhere. For Microsoft and partners in the health care and life sciences fields,
"the future is in developing health care tools and applications for the
technology consumers use in their everyday lives," Aylward said, adding that
the opportunities are huge for partners to develop applications that drive
collaboration between patients, clinicians and administrators, and to make
those technologies available to every health care consumer.
Neupert cited Microsoft's HealthVault platform as a way to encourage health
care technology vendors and ISVs to develop rich applications that would
enhance patient-caregiver collaboration on a Web-based platform that consumers
were already familiar with.
senior director of Microsoft's Health Solutions Group, said the HealthVault
platform allows consumers to aggregate their personal health records, control
access and information sharing of their own health information, collaborate
with caregivers, and connect to new sources of health information.
Conn explained that with
consumers as the aggregators and the controllers of how, when, and with whom their
information can be shared, the traditional health information model is turned
on its head.
"Right now, the mechanism for this is through HIPAA [Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act], which dictates how to control patient
privacy when patients don't control the records," Conn
said. HIPAA, he said, has very clear rules stating that patients can request to
see, copy, add to or delete any piece of health information in their records,
and HealthVault uses those same procedures but in a digital format.
"HealthVault seeks to integrate the data for an individual and provides
them control over that record," Conn
Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.