HealthVault's George Scriban talks wireless health

By Brian Dolan
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Microsoft HealthVaultMobihealthnews recently caught up with HealthVault's Senior Global Strategist George Scriban to discuss how HealthVault fits into the wireless health discussion. Can mobile application developers synch their apps directly to HealthVault? Will Windows Mobile create apps that integrate to HealthVault? How does a medical device maker enable its users to send information to HealthVault? Scriban answered these questions and more in a wide-ranging interview that also covered whether HealthVault could be offered as a bare bones EHR for physicians, how HealthVault drives revenue within the health solutions group at Microsoft and hints at the global health market as the key opportunity for wireless in healthcare.

Mobihealthnews: At various events, many times I've heard Microsoft executives stress that HealthVault is a "platform" and not a personal health record (PHR). Can you provide a brief overview of HealthVault to start as a reference point?

Scriban: The problem that HealthVault is designed to address is one that we have heard from consumers for a long, long time: The information that they need to manage their healthcare and their families' healthcare is fragmented. There was no one place to connect it all. HealthVault addresses that issue specifically by being able to connect to clinical systems, devices and application so that you have a single place to collect, store and share your personal health information. It's also a platform for action around your healthcare. Since it is a platform it has these interfaces that allow third parties like the Mayo Clinic, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and a number of other third party solutions providers to deliver services that really allow you to act on your specific health information. [Mayo Clinic] Health Manager gives you guidance, for example, based on your specific condition like your blood pressure instead of just general guidance information that might include an average range. That's where HealthVault plays as a platform. It's a platform for applications and it's a platform where consumers can store all their health information.

I noted you said HealthVault is a consumer play -- how does Microsoft reach consumers? I know HealthVault's partner AllOne Mobile works through payers and another PHR provider, Dossia, works to offer its PHR through employers. How does Microsoft reach out to potential HealthVault users? Employers? Payers? Direct-to-consumer?

Mayo ClinicOne of the things that Microsoft has always been really good at is allowing the people with the domain expertise to use the platform to make those kinds of vertical market or domain expertise based business decisions. For example, someone like Mayo Clinic with a mandate like MayoClinic.com to go after consumers directly or to deliver on their care mission to deliver to consumers health information directly, they would use HealthVault to develop applications for personal healthcare guidance and go directly after the consumer. A company like AllOne's model is to have their services subsidized by payers. They can still use exactly the same platform to reach that particular market. From our perspective it's not necessarily about Microsoft going after employers or employees at large corporations and getting them to try to use HealthVault, but it's more about determining who is delivering services already in the employee and health benefits space and then determining how they could benefit from re-architecting their applications, making their applications compatible or making new applications that run on top of something like HealthVault.

Another partner of ours, Vital Data Technologies, is an ideal example. They have a service generally sold through the employer market that enables you to prepare for emergencies. Microsoft employees can get a subsidized version of this service that is HealthVault compatible. This is one way for HealthVault to work together with a company going after a specific market without vertical-izing or isolating ourselves.