Microsoft Health Care IT Video Series Debuting Nov. 10

Microsoft will debut an online video series, Health Tech Today, starting on Nov. 10. The upcoming show will focus on how health and information technology intersect. Microsoft's cloud-based repository for patient information, HealthVault, is just one of the health care IT-related applications and products that companies ranging from Google and Intel to Oracle have been pushing into the public sphere.

Microsoft will debut an online video series, Health Tech Today, exploring the intersection of health and information technology on Nov. 10.

While details of the show remain largely under wraps, Microsoft posted a video trailer for the show on the Microsoft HealthBlog. The show will be hosted by Bill Crounse, Microsoft's senior director of Worldwide Health.

Although initiatives and products such as Windows 7 and Xbox dominate most of the media's attention, Microsoft has been working to make healthcare IT a pillar of its overall corporate strategy.

In June, Microsoft announced that it was collaborating with the American Medical Association to give physicians access to patent records stored on Microsoft's HealthVault application via a Web-based portal. That followed an April announcement that the Mayo Clinic, working with Microsoft, would use HealthVault technology as the foundation for the Mayo Clinic Health Manager, which would allow patients to upload data from home health devices and receive reminders about their medical care.

Released in October 2007, HealthVault is an encrypted repository where patients can store their medical information online. Microsoft originally intended to generate revenue through advertising on HealthVault's search engine.

Microsoft's rollout of HealthVault was competitively matched, in February 2008, by Google debuting Google Health, its own resource for storing personal health information online. Google updated the service in March 2009 to allow patients to send their medical data to doctors and other trusted contacts.

Google has also been partnering with other entities in the healthcare arena, including CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) for a pilot program that would see Medicare beneficiaries able to input their Medicare claims into Google Health.

The federal government sees cloud computing as a way to help streamline the U.S. healthcare system. In a keynote address at the CEA Line Shows conference in June, the nation's first-ever chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra, talked about the need to "bring innovation platforms" and the cloud to bear on issues such as healthcare IT.

"I'm fascinated by the idea that we can interconnect all sorts of things that we never connected before," Chopra said.

Companies ranging from Intel to Oracle have also inserted themselves into the healthcare IT space, either through acquiring smaller startups or introducing their own products, demonstrating in the process that the tech sector views healthcare as a potentially lucrative revenue stream.