Microsoft Launches Windows 8 App for HealthVault Medical Record Platform

Microsoft's Windows 8 app for the HealthVault personal health record platform features a streamlined interface for displaying vital medical data.

Microsoft has announced the launch of a Windows 8 app for its HealthVault personal health record platform.

The app will allow users to view a streamlined version of HealthVault on Surface tablets, laptops and desktops. HealthVault allows users to compile data on vital signs as well as keep track of fitness goals.

For Windows 8, HealthVault features an updated front page that provides a view of vital health data, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and diet information. Mini graphs show recent trends for these metrics.

The app also includes a "bordering health profile section" with a list of allergies, medications, conditions, immunizations and procedures. Users can also store their insurance information and contact info for doctors and pharmacies.

"HealthVault as a service holds a bunch of other administrative data including core demographics, appointments, advanced directives and explanation of benefits documents," Sean Nolan, distinguished engineer for Microsoft HealthVault, told eWEEK in an email.

Nolan announced the new app in a March 14 blog post.

In addition, the HealthVault app features an "integrated sharing charm" that acts as both a source and a target for data. "As a 'source,' we make HealthVault data available to be shared as HTML—the primary use case here is to drop it into a mail message to send to others," said Nolan.

Users can share data from a camera, photo or file apps with HealthVault as the "target," he said. The Windows 8 app acts as the "broker" between the source and the target, said Nolan.

"From a user experience perspective, the user starts in the source app, swipes from the right and chooses 'share,'" he said. HealthVault then shows up as an option for the user to choose.

"Our user experience then shows up in the sharing pane, and we give the user a quick preview of the item to be shared as well as a picker so they can select the right record for the data (e.g., is this for mom, dad or one of the kids)," he said. "The data gets sent, and the pane goes away leaving the user in their original source app context."

In addition, the Windows 8 feature called Snap View is compatible with HealthVault. It allows users to grab the HealthVault app at the top of the window and slide it over to the left, where it docks in a mini-view.

Many Windows 8 health apps such as PatientLive, a resource on medications and treatments, link with HealthVault. The platform is an ecosystem that can connect remote-monitoring devices and apps to the cloud platform. Pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS link prescription records with HealthVault and consumers' personal health data. They can even match these records with current clinical trials through Applied Informatics' TrialX application.

Microsoft has introduced HealthVault apps for previous Windows versions. In 2011, the company introduced a Windows Phone 7 app for the personal health platform, but with Windows 8, however, users can move easily between mobile devices and the desktop using Windows 8 single-sign-on capabilities.

In addition to the native Windows 8 app, Microsoft offers HealthVault Library for Windows 8, which allows developers to build connected apps for HealthVault on the Windows 8 platform.