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Microsoft Launches HealthVault

Microsoft has done it again. While Americans have been hearing inklings of the progress being made on digitizing their health records for a decade, that day may be fast approaching. Banks and retailers have long known how to provide account access to consumers through the internet. But a large majority of doctors’ offices and hospitals use paper records only. While there have always been privacy concerns about storing a patient’s medical history online, the benefits of doing so are compelling.

  • What if you could access your cholesterol levels or immunizations online, without having to call your doctor?
  • What if you got in a car accident and the hospital could instantaneously download your health history and know what other conditions you have that might complicate their treatment?
  • What if researchers could easily track trends in treatment across a huge collection of patient records to better determine their successes and failures?

Well Microsoft is now the first of a number of technology competitors to create such a tool, HealthVault, a website where you can save your medical records and share them with doctors – without fearing that your insurer will interfere. “Deborah Peel, founder of Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, which helped Microsoft craft HealthVault’s privacy practices, noted `The revolutionary thing about HealthVault is that it gives consumers complete control over their records and guarantees no one can access that information without their consent.'”

A November Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive poll found that around 75% of the respondents thought that patients could receive better care if doctors and researchers were able to share information more easily via electronic systems. Nearly two-thirds of those polled said the benefits of electronic medical records outweigh the privacy risks.

YOUR HEALTH DATA PLUGGED IN TO THE WEB
by Catherine Rampell
The Washington Post
October 5, 2007

NEW MICROSOFT SITE FOCUSES ON PERSONAL HEALTH
by Jessica Mintz
Associated Press
October 5, 2007

HEALTH VAULT
CNBC
October 4, 2007

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