Microsoft Opens HealthVault to Windows Phone 7 Developers

Microsoft's HealthVault health-monitoring platform now allows developers to build applications for Windows Phone 7 mobile devices.

Microsoft has enhanced mobile connectivity for its HealthVault platform by allowing developers to build applications for the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

HealthVault is a platform that allows users to manage their medication schedules, record lab test results and keep track of fitness goals.

Users can now also see a mobile-optimized view of their HealthVault account on any smartphone's Web browser. But Windows Phone 7 is the first platform to allow developers to build specific native HealthVault apps on a mobile phone, Sean Nolan, chief architect for Microsoft's Health Solutions group, wrote in an email to eWEEK.

Microsoft has added libraries for the HealthVault SDK (software developers kit), which will allow developers to build applications for Windows Phone 7. Redmond plans to add libraries for Android and the Apple iOS "within weeks," following resolution of some legal details involving the open-source nature of the libraries, Nolan said.

Nolan wrote about HealthVault's new developments in his "Family Health Guy" blog.

For developers designing applications for HealthVault, Microsoft provides a HealthVault interfacing library, a getting started guide and a sample application.

In addition to adding the libraries, Microsoft has optimized the interface of the HealthVault portal for clearer viewing on smaller screens, Nolan said. Users can still view a full non-mobile Web page if they prefer.

On the smaller screen, Microsoft keeps the interface simple with limited data types and fields to display essential information such as allergies, medications and immunizations, Nolan said.

Although users can view info on the mobile-optimized pages, they'll need to switch to a standard view on their phones to edit their data, according to Nolan.

One phone application already designed for Windows Phone 7 is Akvelon Health Guard, which allows patients to measure their blood pressure, glucose and weight.

"The Windows Phone platform provides rich user experience and tight security, which help mitigate the ever-increasing privacy concerns among mobile users," Akvelon CEO Sergei Dreizin said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Web-based software provider HealthSaaS has launched an application for HealthVault on Windows Phone 7 called DiabetesPHR. The program allows patients to record readings for blood glucose, blood pressure, sleep patterns and weight as well as track their medications and treatment.

"By connecting with Microsoft HealthVault, DiabetesPHR plays a key role in helping patients make their daily health data portable and available to caregivers and clinicians," Alan Paget, CTO of HealthSaaS, said in a statement.

"We know of a number of applications in process that make creative use of phone features such as location and acceleration to help capture key health information-we're really looking forward to seeing these start to pop," Nolan said.

Microsoft had announced plans for mobile applications to be developed on HealthVault back in February 2009. "You are going to see a number of mobile applications going live on this platform in the coming weeks and months," Dr. James Mault, then-director of new products and business development for Microsoft's Health Solutions group, said at the time, according to Mobihealthnews.

In February 2011, Microsoft announced collaboration with the federal government to allow for exchanging of messages between doctors and patients on HealthVault using the Direct Project, a security standard for developing HIEs (health information exchanges). Doctors will also be able to exchange messages with each other regarding patient care.