Last year when Microsoft announced the end of HealthVault Insights, an app-based project applying machine learning to personal health records, it came with the assurance that users’ data would remain housed on the HealthVault website.
However, it seems the time has come to officially bid farewell to Microsoft’s decade-spanning health management service. In an email letter sent to users late last week, the company set November 20 as the platform’s expiration date.
"Data you have in your HealthVault account will be deleted effective November 20, 2019. If you wish to keep the data in your account, you need to take action now to transfer that data from your HealthVault account,” the company wrote in its message (included here on ZDNet). “If you are using an Application (mobile, web, etc.) that is dependent on the HealthVault service, such applications may also stop working once the HealthVault service is shut down. Please reach out to the Application provider for information on their plans.”
Microsft outlined a handful of options in the email for users wishing to move their data to a third-party service. Among these was Get Real Health’s Lydia platform, which according to a release will handle the complete migration of user data in as few as three clicks.
“We applaud Microsoft for launching HealthVault and launching millions of users on the journey to better health,” Robin Wiener, Get Real Health’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Now we want to give those people even better tools to use that data in more meaningful ways to improve habits and overall wellness.”
FollowMyHealth was also named by Microsoft as an option for users wishing to migrate their data, according to ZDNet.
WHY IT MATTERS
First established in 2007, Microsoft’s HealthVault has long offered consumers and businesses a platform to record and share electronic health data. Along with serving as the backbone of the aforementioned HealthVault Insights tool, the health record platform complemented Microsoft’s other forays into personal health management, such as the fitness-focused Health Dashboard (which also got the axe just last month).
Taken together, the closures would suggest that Microsoft is taking a step back from consumer-focused health products and services. Rather, the tech company’s recent updates to its Microsoft Teams platform and the reveal of the HoloLens 2 give the impression that Microsoft is instead focusing its health-related efforts toward enterprise markets.
WHAT’S THE TREND
It could be argued that HealthVault had a pretty good run compared to other early health platforms. Google Health launched around the same time as HealthVault but was shuttered in 2012 to make way for Google Fit, which also ran dry in March. Both services were preceded by Revolution Health, a venture led by AOL's Steve Case which only lasted a few years past the 2007 launch of its web portal, and the Dossia Consortium, founded in 2006 and laid to rest in 2016.
On the other hand, the consumer-focused Apple Health Records seems to be gaining steam with dozens of participating organizations (including most recently the Department of Veterans Affairs) while startups Ciitizen and RDMD have also seen interest from investors.
Consumerization of Healthcare
In April, we'll look at the consumerization of healthcare from a variety of angles, including how to treat patients as customers.