Microsoft has announced a new 'software and service initiative.' I was expecting Google to take the lead in the health arena but Microsoft seems to have beaten Google at least in terms of launching version 1.0.
The website is live now. It will be worth watching how many individuals sign up. Ultimately, in such initiatives, the critical first performance indicator is the rate of sign-ups; subsequently, we should look at how steadily do people update and maintain their health records on this site.
--Here's the WSJ article discussing this initiative.
As in any network-era initiative, success will depend on Microsoft's ability to orchestrate multiple entities in the health ecosystems. The launch site shows the initial set of players that have committed to show their support. But there is a huge difference between showing commitment (intent) and actually supporting it on a sustained basis (use).
Clearly, health is an important area and this initiative is worth watching and tracking as this ecosystem takes shape over time.
Update: Here's a reference article published in NY Times.
NY Times article noted how this can help mitigate risks of heart attack:
At the American Heart Association, Dr. Daniel Jones, the president, said working with Microsoft was a way to accelerate his group’s efforts to curb heart disease. Microsoft is collaborating with the association on an online tool for managing blood pressure. Heart patients will be able to go to the association’s Web site, open a HealthVault account and submit their blood-pressure readings, weight and medications.--
At first, Dr. Jones said, consumers will probably enter the data themselves, but later they may have it sent from a doctor’s office or laboratory. Ideally, he said, patients would share the information with their doctor or nurse, who could call or send an e-mail message to warn of any disturbing changes.
Healthcare ecosystems will evolve around complex issues of information, privacy, service delivery, insurance and preventive care. And, information technology will be at the center of the dynamic ecosystems. Microsoft's healthvault is an important building block.