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Microsoft PHR connects physicians, patients

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Microsoft is taking the nascent concept of personal health records to the next level with its free HealthVault PHR.

Microsoft is taking the nascent concept of personal health records to the next level with its free HealthVault PHR. Created in conjunction with connectivity vendor Kryptiq, the new PHR allows consumers to enter their health data into a secure online record and to view data uploaded from hospital and physician EHRs, medical devices, and home monitoring systems. Consumers control which providers or other parties can see their medical information and must also give their consent to have physicians send data to their PHR.

HealthVault also offers an Internet search function tailored to a patient's medical conditions.

Internist Charles Kilo of Greenfield Health, a medium-sized practice in Portland, OR, says the group has been "communicating directly with patients via e-mail and a patient portal for over five years now, but HealthVault democratizes that process, making it easier for patients to use IT tools to manage their own care and to connect direct to their medical practice."

Of course, to link EHRs with HealthVault, the vendors of those systems must write the requisite interfaces. NextGen Healthcare, a leading ambulatory EHR vendor, has already created an interface between its ChartMail patient portal and HealthVault. Eclipsys Corp., a hospital IT vendor, has done the same with its Sunrise portal.

Microsoft lists a few dozen other companies and institutions that are using or planning to use HealthVault in various ways. They include EHR vendors Allscripts and iMedica; the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association; LifeScan, a Johnson & Johnson company; Medem, a website building and connectivity firm associated with medical societies; and health care systems MedStar Health and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

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