On Thursday, Microsoft beat Google to launch their HealthVault, a place where patients can store their health information. Patients and health professionals have been begging for something similar to this for quit a while now, but like everything else in the healthcare industry, it begs the question: is this going to work and how are they going to implement this. This is nothing to say of what Microsoft is doing, but more reflective of the healthcare industry as a whole.

A patient’s health record is spread over countless hands all restricted by the government from talking about it. One of the most sacred and scary acronyms in healthcare is HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA dictates that people who have the right to retain and handle a patient’s private health information, my keep this information from prying eyes. To most healthcare professionals, HIPAA means law suit. All this means, is how likely are these bearers of information is likely to give up these information?

One last thing that worries me, does Microsoft HealthVault (and Google Health for that matter) no who to advertise this service to? Yes, the first people to sign up are twenty and thirty-somethings here in the valley because they’re nuts like that, but they’re not the ones who have complicated health data to really worry about something like that. Microsoft really needs to go beyond the internet crowd to people who don’t typically go online (see my other article about Healthcare readers). Once they’re able to convert this crowd, the masses will follow.

Personally, as a healthcare provider, I want to see this succeed purely on the perspective of patient health. When a patient