Late last week, Microsoft's HealthVault platform and personal health data repository, which the company loathes to call a personal health record (PHR), exited from "beta" status. ZDNet broke the news and received an explanation from Microsoft for the removal of the beta tag:
"In order to make the migration out of Beta, Microsoft products need to meet a series of internal compliance requirements across the areas of Accessibility, Interoperability, Security, Privacy, Software Integrity, Geopolitical and Intellectual Property," Microsoft told ZDNet in an email. "HealthVault made a number of updates, most notably in the area of Accessibility, where the team has placed a tremendous amount of focus over the last two releases, enabling new scenarios in low vision, vision impaired, color blindness, mobility and hearing."
The company noted, however, that even though HealthVault was out of beta as of August 26th, Microsoft plans to continue to add more features through regularly released new updates. It is a platform after all.
In a recent interview with MobiHealthNews, Microsoft's Senior Global Strategist for HealthVault, George Scriban explained that connecting wireless health devices to HealthVault was a key strategy for the platform:
'Whether you are well or ill you really do not spend the majority of your time in your physician's office. For the most part, 90 percent of your day is spent managing your condition, health or wellness by yourself," Scriban said. "Devices can be an important part of that whether it's a pedometer keeping track of the number of steps you take, or a blood pressure cuff that helps you manage your hypertension, or even a weight scale - something a lot of us use even if we don't think of ourselves as managing a condition. Right now you are correct in that a lot of these devices are not IP addressable wirelessly connected to the cloud. As a consequence they don't have a direct relationship with HealthVault," Scriban continued. "[However], understanding the home health space, we have built-in the ability to get the data off of these devices and into your HealthVault record so that the physician can use that data, for example. There is a trial we are running with Cleveland Clinic where they are issuing patients managing hypertension and other heart disease a set of devices so that they can manage and monitor their condition at home."
Now that the platform is out of beta testing, we hope to see an acceleration in the number of connected devices supported by HealthVault, whether because HealthVault may have more resources to dedicate to that effort now or because device makers are more willing to work with a platform that considers itself ready for primetime.