Microsoft trials medical record system

June 16, 2008 // 9:49 a.m.

Tags: #healthvault #hmo #medical-records #microsoft #privacy #records

If you're still unconvinced by turning your medical records over to the friendly giant that is Google, you've now got another option – the not-so-friendly behemoth known as Microsoft.

Obviously in a 'manic' phase of its congenital copy-everything-Google-does cycle, the Redmond-based monolith has announced the launch of a pilot scheme for its HealthVault medical records management service. According to BetaNews, the test will involve the records present in Oakland-based healthcare organisation Kaiser Permanente existing electronic system being sucked into the 'cloud-based' HealthVault storage system created by Microsoft.

So far, so Google: the criticisms levelled at the search giant back in February are just as valid now Microsoft wants a bite of the sick people pie, and perhaps the most worrying fact is that it won't be us who decides the winner in this rapidly-growing market – that will be decided by the healthcare companies themselves, based on who can offer them the best return on investment. Say what you like about Microsoft, they've never knowingly priced themselves out of a new market.

Peter Neupert, corporate vice-president of the Health Solutions Group arm of Microsoft, is hoping that consumers can see past the media-led image of Microsoft being an unfriendly aloof corporate entity, claiming that the company has “really had to think through the privacy issues, the security, issues, the trust issues” and believes that the company “could be an effective custodian” of your medical data.

While I'm all for the integration of improved information management systems into the healthcare industry – and it must be remember that in the US healthcare is an industry, and one which generated an estimated $2.26 trillion in turnover last year – I'm still not convinced that this is best managed by opening all our most private details to third-party corporations, and least of all to companies around whom hover constant worries as regards their commitment to our right to privacy.

What's your take on this – would you rather trust your medical data to Google or Microsoft? Perhaps you'd rather the pair of them kept their digital noses out of your health history? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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