Microsoft quietly removed the "beta" tag from its HealthVault heatlh records-management service on August 26.
(I discovered this update via a Tweet from OakLeaf Systems' blogger Roger Jennings and confirmed the fact with Microsoft yesterday.)
Microsoft launched the beta of HealthVault -- one of its early examples of Software+Services -- in October 2007. HealthVault is a client application plus a Live service that will allow consumers to build and maintain a personal health record. One of the inputs into this health record are results from Microsoft’s health search-engine, also known as HealthVault, which is based on the MedStory search technology Microsoft bought in 2006 2007.
Update (September 15): A Microsoft spokesperson e-mailed a couple of new pieces of information re: HealthVault. First, "We no longerconnect Search to HealthVault, but MedStory's search technology now powers the health search results in Bing." Secondly, Microsoft is no longer referring to HealthVault as a "Live" or Windows Live service, as that "could lead to confusion." Instead, Microsoft prefers to describe HealthVault as "a client application (for device connectivity) and a cloud platform," or as a "personal health application platform," the spokesperson said.
HealthVault stores patient information in a Microsoft-hosted database and is one of the first Microsoft offerings to make use of the Azure cloud operating environment. In April of this year, Microsoft announced it had integrated HealthVault with Amalga, its patient-information software.
I asked Microsoft what changes it had made to HealthVault between the beta and final releases of the service. Microsoft officials sent via e-mail the following response from David Cerino, General Manager of Microsoft's Health Solutions Group:
"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. 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."
Even though HealthVault is no longer in beta, Cerino noted that Microsoft plans to continue to add more features to the software and service through regularly released new updates.
On the HealthVault blog, Microsoft published the release notes for the final version of HealthVault. The software/service is ready for deployment in production and pre-production environments, according to the post. A .Net software-development kit for the final release will be available "shortly," according to the company.