Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Going live with Microsoft Healthvault

Last week, Beth Israel Deaconess went live with Microsoft Health Vault, just as we went live with Google Health last May. Like Google Health, using it is completely optional and patient controlled.

The code to link BIDMC medical records to Microsoft is a subtle variation of the code we used for Google Health. It leverages the same standards and required very little additional work. Here's how it works.

Patients using our Personal Health Record, Patientsite, just click on Microsoft Health Vault in the Patientsite Navigation Bar (screen capture above). They then link their Microsoft Passport credentials with their Patientsite account using the Healthvault login screen. Once this is done, Patients can choose to upload their problem lists, medications, and allergies to Healthvault, enabling patients to maintain their own lifetime health record on the Microsoft site. At any time, patients can deactivate the link to Healthvault and remove their information.

This initiative is part of my ongoing commitment to provide BIDMC EHR data to Personal Health Records such as Google, Microsoft, and Dossia so that patients can be the stewards of their own data and can exchange data with caregivers per their own privacy preferences.

Here's our press release about the effort.

BOSTON – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is expanding options for users of its secure PatientSite portal by joining forces with Microsoft HealthVault to offer a new way to safely exchange medical records and other health data.

The affiliation follows an earlier commitment to offer a similar service through Google Health.
“We believe that patients should be the stewards of their own data,” says John Halamka, MD, BIDMC’s chief information officer. “BIDMC’s PatientSite is wonderful if all care is delivered at BIDMC. However, many patients have primary care doctors, specialists, labs, pharmacies, and non-traditional providers at multiple institutions.

“Our vision is that BIDMC patients will be able to electronically upload their diagnosis lists, medication lists and allergy lists into a HealthVault account and share that information with health care providers who currently don’t have access to PatientSite.”

PatientSite, which currently has more than 40,000 patient users and 1,000 clincians, enables patients to access their medical records online, securely email their doctors, make appointments, renew medications and request referrals.

HealthVault is designed to put people in control of their health data. It helps them collect, store and share health information with family members and participating health care providers, and it provides people with a choice of third-party applications and devices to help them manage things such as fitness, diet and health.

HealthVault also provides a privacy- and security-enhanced foundation on which a broad ecosystem of providers – from medical providers and health and wellness device manufacturers to health associations – can build innovative new health and wellness solutions to help put people in increased control of their and their family’s health.

“The end result will be when patients leave the BIDMC area or see a provider outside the area they can have all their medical data located in one safe place,” adds Halamka.

Microsoft HealthVault can be found on the web at


Austin said...

At BIDMC does it put tests results or only medications and allergies on HealthVault/Google Health? If I was a patient there, would I be able to see results from blood tests and also doctors notes? If you can't see these using the Google or Microsoft products, do they appear on the patient site? I'm very interested in this aspect of healthcare and I feel that something could be done to speed up the adoption across the world.

John Halamka said...

At present, Patientsite shows the entire medical record but Google Health and Microsoft Health exports show problems/meds/allergies. We'll continue to enhance our interfaces to these external PHR systems to include more data.

Unknown said...

Does Google Health or Microsoft Health support a prescription drug history feed from the health plan or Prescription Benefit Administrator? What I have seen is that health records are difficult to maintain for patients with heavy drug usage. Microsoft Money and other financial programs solved this by getting "feeds" from the customer's (patient's) bank.

Anonymous said...

Does BIDMC suggest that people copy records to only one PHR (HealthVault, Google Health, or Dossia)? If they have multiple PHRs, data could quickly get out of sync, which will cause confusion and errors. Do you anticipate this as a problem?

Dancerteacher said...

Although I can see the benefits, this really makes me nervous. Google and Microsoft are building power bases comparable to that of many governments. They are also fat and tempting targets for hackers. Microsoft can't keep all the hackers away from little old me, and anything a hacker might gain by access to me is pretty small potatoes compared to spoils of hacking the national database they are building.
I'd be a lot more comfortable having BIDMC email data to specific providers whom I may authorize, but I'll skip having my personal information on a national database.

Dancerteacher said...

In order to send the previous comment about how uncomfortable I am with Google or Microsoft having my medical files, I had to accept Google's service agreement. Here is an excerpt from that agreement to show how committed they are to guarding personal information:
"Google also reserves the right to access, read, preserve, and disclose any information as it reasonably believes is necessary to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request, (b) enforce this Agreement, including investigation of potential violations hereof, (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues, (d) respond to user support requests, or (e) protect the rights, property or safety of Google, its users and the public. Google will not be responsible or liable for the exercise or non-exercise of its rights under this Agreement."
In other words, they promise to protect my information as long as it's convenient for them.