On Thursday, Microsoft fulfilled their planned dream (since 2000) of launching a website for managing personal medical information. But, will the technology be able to protect the privacy of it’s users? And will having the medical records online will allow for better medical treatment because of easy access?
The free web site service, Microsoft HealthVault acts as a library for medical and health-related information, for an individual or family. It can hold data such as immunization records, records from doctors and hospitals, information from medical devices, such as heart monitors and more. The personal medical data can also be linked in to a search engine that is specifically concerned with health information.
Access to the personal health information can be given to doctors and other family members through e-mail invitations.
There are other website services such as HealthVault already available. Others promise to come online soon. Many regional health information organizations, such as medical providers, insurance companies and private companies already market their own versions of online medical records storage services. Walmart, Inc., for example, offers such a service to its employees. And AOL co-founder Steve Case, has already launched Revolution Health, and Google is soon to come on board with its own service.
In fact, there are so many personal health storage and management services, that chances are that you have access to at least one such tool without even knowing it.
Microsoft’s HealthVault may have an edge over those other services, simply because is designed to work seamlessly with Windows operating systems and can be attached to medical devices.
At the moment, there are no major insurance companies that are onboard with HealthVault, and it is unclear if consumers will actually use the online service. What do you think? Will you take advantage of having all of your health information available online?
Mary Ann Romans writes about everything related to saving money in the Frugal Blog, technology in the Computing Blog, and creating a home in the Home Blog. You can read more of her articles by clicking here.