Microsoft, Kaiser Partner On Online Health Data

    June 9, 2008

Microsoft and Kaiser Permanente, the largest U.S. health maintenance organization are partnering on a patient information exchange pilot program to allow patients to have more control over their health records.

Similar initiatives are taking place at companies like Revolution Health Group LLC and Google, which launched its online healthcare service, Google Health in February.

Information stored in Kaiser’s personal health records, including patient’s test results, prescriptions and immunizations, will be transferred to Microsoft’s HealthVault, an online service that allows patients to manage medical data from a number of Web sites and selectively share information with them.

The initial program will be open to only 156,000 employees of Kaiser Permanente. Microsoft and Kaiser say the pilot program’s long-term goal is to bring medical data online and allow user’s to access their data wherever they go and share it with doctors or pharmacies.

Health-care analysts say companies such as Google and Microsoft face obstacles in attempting to bring the country’s health-care system online. The industry is heavily regulated and people have been hesitant to adopt online personal health records, partly because of security and privacy worries.

The initiative is expected to reduce health-care costs by allowing people to make better, more educated choices about their healthcare according to the Wall Street Journal.