HealthVault 'breaks free,' adds Facebook authentication
Sean Nolan, chief architect and general manager of Microsoft's Health Solutions Group, broke the news with palpable excitement in a blog post last Tuesday.
He was so excited, in fact, that he made the proclamation in bolded 14-point type:
We've gone mobile!
Nolan was talking about Microsoft HealthVault, the personal health record that – with the recent swirling headlines surrounding Google Health (mothballed moribund) – now looks to stand more or less unchallenged as the PHR of record.
And it's with that newfound confidence, apparently, that HealthVault has decided to break "free from the desktop"
As Nolan puts it: "It's become completely obvious that mobile devices are rapidly taking over as the primary way that folks communicate and compute in their daily lives."
As such, it was (past) time for the site to boldly go where so many have gone before: onto your smartphone and into your pocket.
But in fairness, even if it came a bit later than many expected, the updated application has some pretty interesting functionalities, helping put the power of managing their own health into patients' hands (literally).
That will be a boon for both patients and physicians, says Nolan, offering more wellness tools to people who want them, and helping save time by allowing folks to tell their docs about "that last tetanus shot, what year your knee surgery was, or how to spell hydrochlorothiazide."
First off, Microsoft has enabled outside developers to create standalone HealthVault apps. Right now availability is limited to Windows Phone 7, but will be enabled for Apple's iOS and Google Android in the coming weeks or months.
The mobile version of HealthVault also has capabilities that allows patient summaries in both CCR and CCD format to be reconciled – "enabling folks to easily create, for example, comprehensive medication and allergy lists that they can use in other settings," Nolan writes.
Perhaps most intriguing is HealthVault's addition of Facebook as an authentication tool.
"For many folks, Facebook is the Internet," Nolan reasons. Allowing users to sign into the PHR using their Facebook log-ins is a way of "acknowledging Facebook's central role in people's lives."