Microsoft has announced a way for customers to pull in data from Google Health to its HealthVault health record platform using federal Direct Project protocols.
Microsoft says it will
enable users of the soon-to-be-defunct Google Health service to transfer their
data to Microsoft's HealthVault PHR (personal health record) platform using the
federal government's Direct Project messaging protocols.
The Direct Project is the
Obama administration's effort to provide a simple and secure way for people to
exchange authenticated, encrypted health information over the Internet.
On June 24 Google revealed
that it would discontinue
as of Jan. 1, 2012, and customers could still access their
data until Jan. 1, 2013.
About 300 applications and
70 devices connect to HealthVault, which allows consumers to monitor health
conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma, and record
the data in an online account. Devices that connect to HealthVault include
blood-pressure monitors, blood-glucose monitors and weight scales.
Microsoft announced Feb. 2
that it would integrate encrypted email functionality into HealthVault using DirectProject's
Google Health customers can
send their profiles to HealthVault as an encrypted message by selecting
"Send profile to another service" and choosing HealthVault, according
to Microsoft, which announced the arrangement on July 18 and posted
on its Website.
Microsoft is also inviting
developers who have designed applications for Google Health to migrate their
software to HealthVault.
"Google has been an
important ally in providing customers with access to their data and tools to
better manage care online," Nate McLemore, general manager for Microsoft's
Health Solutions group, said in a statement. "Microsoft continues to
advance the HealthVault platform to increase its value to consumers-by adding
important features, such as support for mobile devices, and by collaborating
with hundreds of health organizations, including the American Cancer Society,
American Heart Association and CVS Pharmacy-to deliver robust health and
wellness applications that connect to HealthVault."
Tech industry experts have said
Microsoft benefits in the PHR space by having both Amalga on the enterprise
side and HealthVault on the consumer side. Amalga
is Microsoft's unified enterprise health platform for storing and retrieving
many types of health records. It allows hospital systems to combine health data
in disparate formats into a single platform.
HealthVault is better
positioned than Google was because it will be able to integrate both Amalga and
SharePoint Server with HealthVault to create physician and patient portals,
Lynne Dunbrack, program director of connected health IT strategies at IDC
Health Insights, told eWEEK.
Redmond says health care
data should flow from the hospital to the physician to the home, the company
and investments continue to be focused on delivering these systems-Microsoft
Amalga, which is designed to help health systems streamline operations and
connect care teams, and HealthVault, which enables engagement with
patients," Peter Neupert, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Health
Solutions group, wrote in a blog
. "We believe these two platforms combined-Amalga and
HealthVault-can transform care and create a patient-centric health
Despite the impending
shutdown of Google Health, PHR
platforms have a future
, if they're integrated into a comprehensive health
care IT strategy, according to a report by research firm Frost & Sullivan.
Still consumers have yet to
show an interest in tracking health data themselves, experts say. Patients
would rather have more face-to-face time with doctors, according to Shahid
Shah, CEO of IT consulting firm Netspective Communications.
"People want more time
with their physicians and don't really care who manages their chart," Shah
wrote in his Healthcare
IT Guy blog