The partnering of providers, telecommunications companies, healthcare information technology vendors and the two IT giantsGoogle and Microsoftthat are offering competing personal health-record platforms continues with the announcement that AT&T, San Antonio, and Covisint, a subsidiary of Compuware Corp., Detroit, are working with Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash., on what they are calling a major eHealth initiative.
Covisint will give provider identity and patient-permission verification pieces that will enable healthcare providers to log onto a network and access patient information stored on Microsofts HealthVault. AT&T will provide the telecommunications infrastructure and a Web interface for providers who are not part of a provider IT network or may or may not have an electronic health record.
Why Microsoft and not Google?
Microsoft kind of found us, said Brett Furst, vice president of healthcare for Covisint, a developer of a Web-based interoperability platform for use by healthcare information organizations. But that doesnt mean Covisint wont talk with Google, he said. In fact, there have been some initial, on the surface discussions, Furst said. Its not an exclusive agreement, he said.
Covisints other role in this tripartite plan will be to operate like an electric utility, putting a meter on the communications stream, according to Furst, with the costs being covered by payers and providers. -- by Joseph Conn