Microsoft HealthVault Makes Pitch to Hospitals, Tries to Crack Tough Nut of Health-IT Adoption

Xconomy Seattle — 

One of the big questions surrounding the burgeoning field of healthcare IT is, who is going to push to adopt the technology—patients, doctors, or hospitals? After much thought, it seems Microsoft is banking on the latter.

The Redmond, WA, company (NASDAQ: MSFT) is announcing a new software system geared toward hospitals today at the 2010 Annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta. The software, called HealthVault Community Connect, helps gather a patient’s electronic health information—typically stored in a hospital’s separate IT systems—and makes it available to both the patient and referring doctors. Some of these capabilities existed before, but this is the first time a unified system, based on Microsoft’s SharePoint platform for Web-based process management, will be licensed to hospitals.

The software will let patients do things like pre-register online for appointments (sort of like checking in for a flight) and get access to their test results, clinician notes, and medication lists. Doctors can track all the data through the hospital system and make sure the right people have the right charts available before the patient’s next visit. Microsoft says a prototype version was tested at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and the new product is being used by early adopters like Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital, based in Jacksonville, FL. It will be widely available in the third quarter of this year.

Microsoft HealthVault, which was released in October 2007, fits into a larger effort within the company’s 700-strong Health Solutions Group. HealthVault, as the name suggests, is meant to be a secure repository of medical records accessible by patients and their doctors. The program has about 150 partners so far, as is compatible with some 70 home healthcare devices. Other related Microsoft products include Amalga, which tries to get all 65 or so proprietary health IT systems in the average U.S. hospital to talk to each other, and Amalga Life Sciences, which seeks to help genomics researchers put their data in a form that will eventually be conducive to personalized medicine.

David Cerino, a general manager in Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, calls the new HealthVault offering “first-of-its-kind software that can bridge the islands of care from hospitals to the home to the referring community, and engages patients and families in their healthcare.”

One major selling point to hospitals, he says, is that it will help them address the … Next Page »

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