I have included what I hope to provide is some extensive information on the new Health Vault. If you read this blog regularly, you know I am a big advocate of privacy, and for many good reasons. I hand it to Microsoft for taking a jump into the records business, and thus this morning I set up my account to go through the motions and see first hand how it works.
One of my biggest concerns is privacy and who has access...as we all know sometimes information is perhaps not used for the interest of good health care, but rather for financial gains and additional data mining information that has the potential to either deny or hinder our process for obtaining both health care and insurance coverage. My personal opinion here would be to ensure this does remain a "personal" page and hopefully no access from insurance companies to gain information would be available; however, if one wanted to include information from an insurance company if they decided to make documents available, it would be up to you to be able to make that decision on whether or not you want to add this information to your records, and the realization of this is to cut data mining from the purpose of online records and keep the main purpose of this effort in the forefront...better health care and information for the patient..without dollar signs attached for data mining.
I have reviewed and looked at many of the on line health records and I too have had big reservations about where I want any of this information posted. The first step of the process is to have a "Live ID" from Microsoft, and if you currently have a Live ID, and the password is not strong enough, it will need to be updated.
Here's the news article and you can continue below for some additional screen shots and information added based on my observations and creating an account. BD
SEATTLE (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. launched a Web site Thursday for managing personal health and medical information, jumping into an industry whose digital future is clouded by privacy worries. Users can dole out access -- in the form of e-mailed invitations -- to different slices of their private health data to doctors, family members and other people they trust as the need arises.
Microsoft's Nolan said gaining consumers' trust is a potential problem, one the company tried to address by spelling out exactly what data would be shared each time the user connects to a new application or gives someone new permission to see a record.
So far, Microsoft said applications from the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and other organizations are in the works, and devices including blood glucose monitoring systems made by Johnson & Johnson will be able to upload data into the system.
Microsoft said CapMed, which already markets personal health record tools, will create an application for HealthVault, as will Kryptic Corp., whose program will help doctors send and receive information from HealthVault without having to switch from technology they already use
And some of the best sources of comprehensive health records data -- major insurance providers, many of which already offer personal health records tools -- haven't agreed to build applications that work with HealthVault.
Link to Health Vault: http://www.healthvault.com/
Continued Coverage and Information
This screen allows you to see how thing work and to view some of the health partners contracting with the site. There are some names on the list you will probably recognize.
More than one record can be added, for example you might want to use the site for the entire family. There are levels of security with the "custodian" having the ultimate access and permissions granted. The custodian has the say so over all. The screens are nicely designed to allow for quick and easy access. All the screens will be blank as there is no data added yet.
I'm thinking I also might want to add my dog...he's family too.
This is the "create a new record" screen, where other members can be added.
This is the document manager on the site. You can upload documents from your computer. If you have worked with any web based email or even picture sharing sites, you will get the hang of this immediately. A window opens so you can search your computer and select items to upload.
After my search is complete, I was presented with related articles, Web results, and the right hand column has some "sponsored results", in other words the site is add supported and will show books available about headaches from Amazon in this case, so I can review and look up any published material that might be available for purchase. Below the ad section for books, there are several other sponsored links to sites that offer additional information and potential products that would relate to headaches, such as pain relief, nasal sprays, etc.
The Scrapbook feature
This is something I found very unique and interesting. Let's say you have done some research on headaches or want to save the link for later reference. Do we want to use the more than likely over crowded "favorites" link on the browser...I don't know about you, but mine keeps growing and finding information in favorites can be a chore too.
The scrapbook will save this information for you and allow you to create a "tag". In my scrapbook now I have a link called "headache". I can use this same tag again to categorize another article I have researched, so now I have all my 'headache" information in one convenient spot. Very cool....
I can also send articles from my scrapbook to others....
I think this is going to be a very interesting project as it evolves. I do recommend to everyone to fully read all the instructions and privacy notices before you start. If you have not been active for over 20 minutes, the system will automatically log you out for security reasons. Most online banking does this as well.
Once I have signed back in I am presented with the dashboard controls for my account at the Health Vault.
I will be doing more testing with the site and thus far this looks to be the best attempt at online records I have seen. Again, if the goal of better health care and privacy is maintained here without being compromised to data mining for profit, I think Microsoft could really be on to a potential solution. Right now this is beta and if you do sign up for an account and have suggestions, there is a place for that as well.
The site through partners has the ability for you to share your records with your physicians as well as signing up for health coaches, and again research those thoroughly before jumping in feet first to make sure this is what will be in your best interest. Some health coach companies are subsidiaries of insurance companies and you need to read the fine print once you share the records, as to where they go from there.
You can also cancel your account at any time, but it is held for 90 days in case you decide otherwise and want to reinstate your account. After the 90 day period, you will need to start from the beginning. If you feel you have shared something and want to remove it, you can do that too, but just remember if the other party has already accepted and obtained a copy of the information you shared, that cannot be rescinded if they have created a local copy for their files...again, just be sure of what you intend to share and with who.
And one more thing, don't forget about the help files on the site...there's a lot of good information on "how to" with the various screens of the site.
Again, this appears to be the best online approach I have seen to date. BD