Microsoft’s ambition to create its own web-based personal health record system will come to an end on November 20, when the company is officially pulling the plug on its HealthVault service and deleting user data stored on the platform.
Users have the option to migrate their data to other personal health record services like Get Real Health and FollowMyHealth. The company also recommended that customers using third-party apps that integrate with HealthVault should contact developers to insure continuation of service.
HealthVault was initially started with the mission of allowing patients to collect their own data on their terms, which would then be harnessed to create applications and additional healthcare services.
While the service launched with prominent partners including the American Heart Association, Johnson & Johnson and Allscripts, HealthVault suffered from many of the same issues that felled its competitor Google Health.
Google Health, the search giant’s personal health information service was introduced in 2008 and ended three years later because of low user adoption. Ironically, one of the services suggested by Google when their own record system wound down was HealthVault.
Microsoft struggled with creating a sustainable business model around HealthVault and integrations with companies like Fitbit were abandoned over the years.
Earlier this year, Microsoft scrapped its HealthVault Insights app, which applied machine learning to patient data to unlock personalized health insights. In March, the company said it was also going drop support for its Microsoft Band wearable and Microsoft Health dashboard, offering refunds to some users.
While the end of HealthVault is an admission of failure for the company’s initial forays into health, Microsoft has refocused its efforts in the industry toward the enterprise market.
Reflecting a larger shift at the company away from consumer-facing technologies, Microsoft has instead launched new provider and health plan-focused products meant to allow clinicians to communicate and share notes securely, assist in patient navigation and remove technical barriers to interoperability.
Recently, Microsoft announced the Gary Moore as the company’s corporate vice president of health technologies and alliances, charged with forging partnerships with existing healthcare stakeholders.
The company is also a leading cloud provider in healthcare with its Azure platform competing head to head with rivals like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.
Taking the baton from products like Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault, Apple has made major inroads with its Apple Health Records system.
Since its launch in 2018, the company has signed up more than 140 provider and health system partners and recently struck a deal with the VA to provide personal health records for veterans.
In a preliminary study on the effectiveness of Apple Health Records on patients, UC San Diego researchers pointed to a few factors that could lead Apple’s personal health record effort to succeed, where other tech giants have failed.
Chief among these were the near-universal adoption of mobile technology (like the iPhone), advances in connected devices (like the Apple Watch) that can continuously monitor and collect health data and the introduction of new data standards allowing for better sharing and connection with health system records.
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