Microsoft and Google are bracing for battle over the lucrative electronic health records business. A recent partnership with Kaiser Permanente puts Microsoft in the lead – for now.
In a pilot program Kaiser will offer Microsoft’s Health Vault personal health-record service to their 150k+ employees. If successful, Microsoft could reach the 8.7 million Kaiser members.
Take Control of Your Records
Microsoft and Google are expected to speed the adoption of personal electronic health records, a key factor in overall improvement of health care as well as a substantial cost cutter. Both the Microsoft and Google systems put control of personal health records in consumers’ hands. This is a fundamental change from the programs currently in place, which may be accessed by patients but are generally controlled by the health care providers and/or the insurance companies. I love the idea of being able to see everything the doctor has scribbled about me.
Another huge benefit: the new records belong to the consumer and are therefore 100% transferable – crucial in our ever more mobile society. If you want to check it out yourself, you can set up a free Microsoft Health Vault account here.
Your Health: The Total Picture
The new personal health records will allow input from all types of monitoring devices. All types of information from blood pressure machines and insulin monitors, to pedometers and treadmills can be entered into the records. Even detailed diet and exercise stats can work together with blood tests and doctors’ notes to create a more complete picture of health.
All this is expected to empower consumers to be more active in their own health management. Not only is this good for our health, it potentially represents tremendous cost savings because chronic diseases ailments like diabetes and heart disease make up a huge proportion of the US health care bill. The more proactive we are in terms of prevention and maintenance, the less we’re likely to spend on treatment.
Does it bother you at a gut level that Microsoft or Google, that any company has a hand in your most private information? Will hold so much power? It’s not like all the data’s not out there already.