NOTE: A Microsoft spokesman writes to note the Health Manager is not tied directly to the Mayo Clinic's files, just the file formats. Patients must ask the hospital to transfer data on their behalf and remain in charge of both the process and their data.
This fulfills market promises first made in January, 2008.
At the time I compared it to the Martha Stewart agreement with KMart. That deal worked because Martha was a bigger brand than KMart. In health Mayo is a bigger brand than Microsoft.
The press release emphasized this is a Version 1.0 offering:
In its initial offering, Mayo Clinic Health Manager will include tools and features that help manage: pediatric wellness, immunizations, adult wellness, pregnancy and asthma. Additional features will be incorporated in the upcoming months that will help users manage Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. In addition, Mayo Clinic and Microsoft will work to add new functionality and health guidance.
Short version, watch this space.
Full integration of Personal Health Records, which are controlled by patients, with Electronic Health Records controlled by hospitals, insurers or doctors puts your medical data in front of the HIPAA firewall and exposes it to all sorts of interesting Internet services.
But as Google Health learned recently, this can have unintended consequences if the data transfer program is not properly managed.
Score one for Microsoft.