Microsoft Corp. today used a forum in Washington to launch a consumer-focused, secure personal health-record platform that has been designed to reach families in their homes, physicians in their communities and providers worldwide.
The system, called Microsoft HealthVault, combines a search engine, a private and secure database and an Web site to help individuals and families build, track and share their vital health information. The PHR is designed so that the individual decides what information goes into their PHR and who can and cannot see it. Microsoft said that it would not use the health data for commercial purposes unless first given the OK by the consumer to do so.
The move to target the everyday family was by design, said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of the Health Solutions Group at Microsoft. "By building an information system that is consumer-centric, we can start to transform the health system," he said, adding that "consumers are the right agents for change."
Health IT Strategist first broke the story yesterday, but Neupert and a half-dozen or so providers and vendors today debuted the system in a slick, step-by-step wayand stressed the security provisions each step of the way.
Neupert said that the consumer would have complete control over the data, though the system allows data-sharing but only if first agreed to by the consumer and then in a private and secure way.
From a technological perspective, the system operates from secure data centers. Encrypted information flowing to and from HealthVault is done on separate networks and through servers that are physically isolated and under lock and key.
"From the beginning we have designed security into the system," Neupert said.
Deborah Peel, founder of the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation and an Austin, Texas-based psychiatrist, said the privacy protections built into the system are in line with those supported by the foundation itself. "Consumers finally have a trusted place to store their personal health information that will not be data-mined, because they alone control it," she said in a written statement.
While the system is free for users, physicians, health plans and others, the company said it plans to make its money back on the search applications inherent in the system and by online advertisements.