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Microsoft Corp. and healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente plan to launch a pilot program to exchange patient information, the latest in a series of efforts to allow people to better maintain control over their health records.
The effort will involve securely transferring data maintained in Kaiser's personal health record -- an online repository containing data about topics such as patients' test results, prescriptions and immunizations -- to Microsoft's HealthVault, a Web-based service that allows patients to store and manage medical data from a variety of Web sites and selectively share information with them.
Microsoft and Kaiser In Pilot of Patient Health Record [online.wsj.com]
Kaiser Backs Microsoft Patient-Data Plan [nytimes.com]
[edited by: engine at 4:07 pm (utc) on June 9, 2008]
I find it odd that Microsoft would want to go the route of a central Internet database for that data (That said, I don't see that as surprising for Google, as it is in keeping with their strategy of data collection. Though I still see the Google strategy as having a very flawed model as regards personal data privacy). If anything, it would have made more sense to me for Microsoft to have gone a totally different direction and create a distributed client application (and please, not browser based) that keeps the data encrypted exclusively on local client systems, which can be then backed up to DVD for offline storage and retrieval. (You know, client server model, distributed data processing, secure standards - ring any bells?)
In essence, for them to create a standard for encrypted data transfer and storage from health care providers to patients such that they could manage and locally retain the encrypted data for themselves would make far more sense.
While there are conceivable misuses that could take place even in that environment, it would be a heck of a lot more secure and safe for consumers than some big data vault of very personal information in the sky.
I find it odd that Microsoft would want to go the route of a central Internet database for that data
Most likely M$FT wants a say in the standards and tools -- if they can make it so MSFT software is needed to store, open, edit and otherwise use the data, they are guaranteed a steady stream of medical customers, (all of whom will be "required" to pay for software licenses, updates, etc).
Considering MSFT's track record for creating proprietary file formats and software, (and worse, their track record for taking open standards like HTML and munging it for use with MS-IE), this is something the governments of the world should make sure MSFT has no control over.
Kaiser appears to have a track record of computerization of patient records on their own --- if anything they should maybe get a seat on a regulated board of people / companies / agencies that have input into the process of creating a secure but open and public standard for medical records.
More than likely some deep-pockets company will get a 10 year (US) goverment contract to "develop an open standard" and maintain a database --- much like NetSol / Verisign did with domain registration --- then get an extension to manage it for another 5-10 years while some politicians argue who should run it. In the end, it will go to the highest or lowest bidder depending on which process the goverement uses to sell out our health records... On that note -- look at "WHOIS" and how the database is not supposed to be used commercially... I can see it now, insurance companies getting the "WHOIS (having health problens)" database to deny insurance, "WHOIS (related to who)" to see if your family history makes you a good candidate for a given procedure... etc..
Face it. The genie is out of the bottle and there is little chance of putting the cork back in.