Microsoft is starting its long-anticipated drive into the consumer health care market by offering free personal health records on the Web and pursuing a strategy that borrows from the company’s successful formula in personal computer software.
Microsoft announced HealthVault, an online platform where personal electronic health records can be stored.
The platform allows patients to share medical information with doctors and hospitals.
The venture by Microsoft, which is called HealthVault and was announced yesterday in Washington, comes after two years spent building a team, expertise and technology. In recent months, Microsoft managers have met with many potential partners, including hospitals, disease-prevention organizations and health care companies.
The organizations that have signed up for HealthVault projects with Microsoft include the American Heart Association, Johnson & Johnson LifeScan, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Mayo Clinic and MedStar Health, a network of seven hospitals in the Baltimore-Washington region. The partner strategy is a page from Microsoft’s old playbook. To make its operating system, Windows, the dominant platform for personal computers, Microsoft persuaded other companies to build on its technology, and it helped them do it.
“The value of what we’re doing will go up rapidly as we get more partners,” said Peter Neupert, the vice president in charge of Microsoft’s health group.
Four years after Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, doctors are responding as supporters predicted, arriving from all parts of the country to swell the ranks of specialists at Texas hospitals and bring professional health care to some long-underserved rural areas.
The influx, raising the state’s abysmally low ranking in physicians per capita, has flooded the medical board’s offices in Austin with applications for licenses, close to 2,500 at last count.