Users can now access personal medical information from Microsoft's HealthVault personal health record platform through a new Windows Phone 7 application.
HealthVault allows patients to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as keep track of medication schedules and fitness goals. They can also retrieve their health histories and lab test results from doctors' versions of their electronic health records (EHRs).
Sean Nolan, Microsoft's chief architect of health solutions, blogged about the new WP7 app, which the company released on Dec. 13.
"The app is meant to be a handy general-purpose tool-optimized for use whenever you need to quickly save or look up health information," Nolan wrote.
Using the cloud application, mobile users will be able to keep track of immunization dates, prescription histories, insurance details and procedures they've undergone, such as knee surgery or X-rays. Patients can also use the app to share vital data such as blood pressure, weight and blood sugar with a doctor or, in the case of parents, a school nurse.
Through HealthVault, patients can contact emergency medical technician (EMT) call centers, which retrieve information from the PHR service during a crisis.
"The mobile screens optimize for clear presentation of this information on a smaller screen and minimize the number of 'clicks' required to get to it," Nolan wrote in a June 7 email to eWEEK. At that time, Microsoft opened HealthVault to WP7 developers. Redmond provided developers with a HealthVault interfacing library, a getting-started guide and a sample application.
Microsoft also offers software development kits (SDKs) for Apple iOS and Google Android.
WP7 lacks the customer familiarity of the Apple and Google mobile platforms.
"So while I've been crowing about our new HealthVault app for Windows Phone, the peanut gallery here has been grumbling that we need a great iPhone app too," Nolan wrote.
On his blog, Nolan highlighted a few apps for HealthVault that now work on the iPhone.
A company called mySkin has developed a HealthVault-enabled iPhone app that allows patients to capture images of skin lesions and upload the information to the PHR platform. Patients can answer questions about their skin ailment and then share the information with dermatologists. Patients can also email the data to "skin scientists" through mySkin for a clinical opinion.
Meanwhile on Dec. 27 health site iTriage added HealthVault integration to its iPhone app. iTriage is a tool to search for health information such as symptoms, diseases, procedures and medications. Users can view descriptions, images and videos on these topics. In addition, users can search in iTriage for health care providers.
Now iTriage is providing a way for customers to transfer their data from Google Health to HealthVault, after Google's announcement that it will shut down its PHR service. Google Health users can transfer data to HealthVault until Jan. 1, 2013.
Bant, another iPhone app for HealthVault, allows patients to manage diabetes data and upload the information to the Microsoft platform.
HealthVault will remain a part of Microsoft, while Amalga, the enterprise health-intelligence platform that providers use, will become part of Redmond's joint venture with GE Healthcare, announced on Dec. 8. The new company combines several platforms from both companies. As Microsoft does with HealthVault, GE will retain control over its Centricity EHR software.