Microsoft-supported health appstore launches in UK

By Brian Dolan
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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsA Cambridge, UK-based startup called Cambridge Healthcare just launched a health-specific app store for patients in the UK. The store is actually part of a personal health platform, a PHR that is available to patients in the country's National Health Service (NHS) system, for free. The offering is called: How are you?

In recent months Cambridge Healthcare has inked deals with Microsoft to integrate its offering with HealthVault -- and add a couple of Microsoft executives, including the company's Chief Architect of Healthcare Solutions, Sean Nolan, to its board. (Check out a demo version of the How are you? health app store here.)

Cambridge Healthcare describes How are you? as a platform that enables "patients to import their medical history, monitor disease parameters, set personal health goals and much more. Importantly, they can share this information with their doctors and carers, enabling improved coordination of care. They can also personalise their portal with disease or drug-specific information sources, applications, devices and support groups." It sounds an awful lot like Google Health's pitch or Microsoft's HealthVault itself.

This week, however, How are you? launched a curated, health-specific app store that is fully integrated with its existing PHR. The app store has about a dozen different categories for health apps, including: blood pressure, depression, diabetes, cancer, exercise, first aid, pregnancy, sleep, PTSD, medication reminder, stress, smoking, weight management, and more. While the list of categories is a good start, few apps are categorized to date. Many of them still only have one or two apps listed.

Of course, the biggest name in health-specific app stores these days is Happtique, a subsidiary of GNYHA Ventures, that claims to have categorized some 13,000 health-related apps so far. Happtique has a partnership with UK-based non-profit D4, which could lead to its own UK-specific health app store some time soon.

Cambridge Healthcare, however, seems to have bigger plans. It already has offices in Beijing and its recently inked a deal with Sina.com, one of the biggest online media companies in China, to power part of that site's health channel.