Personal Health Record: With Kaiser deal, Microsoft keeps pace with Google

June 27, 2008

The Google PHR that debuted in May connects to an impressive list of healthcare organizations. But the rival PHR from Microsoft has landed a big fish called Kaiser Permanente.

The Google PHR that debuted in May connects to an impressive list of healthcare organizations. But the rival PHR from Microsoft has landed a big fish calledKaiser Permanente.

As the name implies, a PHR is a record owned and controlled by an individual patient, in contrast to an electronic health record, which belongs to a doctor or hospital. But PHRs aren’t just about a conscientious patient typing his medications and lab results into an online form. The programs from Google and Microsoft are meant to import data from the computer systems of doctors, hospitals, insurers, pharmacies, and the like, creating a comprehensive record that a patient can share with anybody he pleases.

When the Google PHR, called Google Health, went live in May, it boasted links to the Cleveland Clinic, MinuteClinic, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Walgreens Pharmacy, Longs Drug Stores, Quest Diagnostics, RxAmerica, and Medco Health Solutions, the last two being pharmacy benefit managers. These are big names to drop, but Microsoft made a splash when it announced this month that 156,000 Kaiser employees would be able to import information from their Kaiser PHRs-derived from Kaiser’s EHR system-into the Microsoft PHR called HealthVault as part of a pilot project. If the experiment clicks, Kaiser will offer the Microsoft PHR to all of its 8.7 million members throughout the country.

The Kaiser pilot comes in the wake of previously announced Microsoft partnerships involving the Mayo Clinic and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.