Friday, October 5, 2007

Part II. Microsoft's new HealthValult, More thoughts

I had more time to look at Microsoft's HealthVault. As I mentioned in my last post, after creating my own personal account, I was disappointed by the sparseness of what I saw. There was no place for me to enter my past medical history, medication lists or allergies. As a physician and a software developer, I must admit, I was confused by what I saw. It was not entirely obvious from the look and feel as to what the application really does.

I was hoping for a robust PHR. In fact, I was hoping to start signing up my patients for accounts as they presented for their appointments. However, if I found the application confusing, it would be pointless trying enroll my patients at this point.

I looked up all the available information on HealthVault from the Microsoft site. Because of my experience in developing healthcare applications, I believe I have a fair understanding of this application now. However, for many, I believe the application is a bit obtuse. I think it's fair to say, HealthVault, despite a barrage of news in the popular media, is not quite ready for direct patient use.

I do remain excited by this offering despite my early disappointment. Having a large company like Microsoft leading this effort, I believe there will be more opportunities for independent developers to create new healthcare applications. I know many think Microsoft is trying to "take over" healthcare, but I'm trying to take the positive view. We'll just have to wait and see.

More on HealthVault later...

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