Microsoft today announced HealthVault, “a software and services platform aimed at helping people better manage their health information”. The elevator pitch according to Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of the Health Solutions Group at Microsoft, is that:
“People are concerned to find themselves at the center of the healthcare ecosystem today because they must navigate a complex web of disconnected interactions between providers, hospitals, insurance companies and even government agencies.
The launch of HealthVault makes it possible for people to collect their private health information on their terms and for companies across the health industry to deliver compatible tools and services built on the HealthVault platform.”
Leave out the health slant, and it sounds remarkably similar to an announcement back in 2001:
Currently, users have a variety of different applications, devices, services they use daily but those technologies don’t work seamlessly with one another, and they require users to adapt to each technology rather than having the technology adapt to them or work together on the users behalf.
“HailStorm” services will allow unprecedented collaboration and integration between the users’ devices, their software and their personal data. With “HailStorm”, users will have even greater and more specific control over what people, businesses and technologies have access to their personal information.
Hailstorm collapsed because the idea of a proprietary Microsoft platform retaining detailed personal information was anathema to too many potential users. Microsoft looks to have done better in lining up at least token support this time, but the fundamental questions remain. Would you or your business trust Microsoft to safely and securely retain and deliver personal health data? Would you lock yourself or your business into a proprietary platform for this purpose? My guess is that that the answers are “no” and that HealthVault is on the way to join Hailstorm in the dead pool.
By the way, this isn’t a knock on Microsoft other than that they should know better. The same applies to other vendors like Google that have similar aspirations.