The Microsoft Health Vault PHR announcement has me interested. I think the success of it all depends on:
1. How easy it is to sign up - I think the Live ID requirement may deter a lot of people.
2. How secure people feel it is - I am not sure I think patients will put accurate information (who is going to put anti-depressants and STD's in the PHR?)
3. How easy it is for EHR's and other Portals to update the information. I don't think you can really rely on patient entered information for accuracy.
4. How easy it is to tell someone how to "break the ice" in case of emergency (ICE). This goes back to the security feeling as well. How long is access provided? Is everything available? Is the information easy to find for the person during the emergency? (nobody is going to spend time looking around. If the information isn't found quickly, it will be dismissed).
5. How popular it is with your friends. I think this is something that will be pushed by friends and neighbors if it is going to take hold. It needs to be "cool"
I am very glad that Microsoft and Google (and Aetna who apparently had their feelings hurt that the world paid attention to Microsoft and Google when they talked PHR but did not pay attention when Aetna did the same) are actually pushing the topic. We need to figure out some easy way for patients to have access to their information and for that information to be shared with others.
The other really interesting part of this is that Microsoft seems to be trying to create universal connection to medical devices. Imagine the quality of care if all patient's could easily have their blood pressure, glucose, or heart monitor values uploaded automatically. The dream has been there for years. It looks like Microsoft is going for it. As we say at Bond, It isn't smart to bet against Bill.