HealthVault is a sick joke

HealthVault is a sick joke

Summary: The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is doing great work overseas to improve health. Hey, how about some attention here in the US of A?

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The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is doing great work overseas to improve health. Hey, how about some attention here in the US of A?

Homepage option: download device drivers! HealthVault is Microsoft's online health management and device driver download web site. The pitch:

Online Health Management Be well. Protected.

With HealthVault, all of your health information is in one place that you control. Created in cooperation with leading privacy advocates, respected security experts, and dozens of the world's leading healthcare organizations, HealthVault was built on the principle that you should control your own health records.

Want to control your health records? Don't put them online.

Out of the driver's seat and into the trunk, Grandma Among other problems, as fellow ZDnet blogger Dana Blankenhorn notes HealthVault isn't covered by HIPAA - whose protection is worthless anyway - and, if you give someone else custodial access to your account, they can easily deny YOU access. Feel the control!

Electronic medical records are a great idea - IF An ounce of prevention not only avoids a pound of cure, it is a heck of a lot cheaper too. The simple fact is that public health measures - clean food and water, sewers, vaccination, seat belts and thousands of other health and safety regulations - have done far more to increase life spans than any shiny piece of equipment or surgical miracle.

But the margins are a lot better on the cure side of the equation. And where there are margins, there are campaign contributions. So the US started cutting back on public health in the 80's and now the world is dealing with truly scary health threats like XDR tuberculosis - which has no cure and is easily passed through the air. Think AIDS without the fun.

Our system is backwards Instead of a system focused on keeping people healthy, America has a system where 30% of our "health care" dollars go to overhead - insurance clerks and medical billing specialists - instead of health care. That's an unseen "tax" of $1500 per person per year. Another huge chunk goes to buy "heroic" intervention in the last few months of life. Everybody wants to get to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

Insurance company profits depend on denying health care - not providing it. HealthVault is more likely to be used to DENY health care than to improve it.

Net-net: US spends more on health care than any other country AND our results are worse. Poorer health, shorter life spans. Trillions for overhead and cure and only a few billion for prevention.

The Storage Bits take Microsoft has the germ of a good idea in HealthVault. EMRs have reduced costs and improved care in VA hospitals which - virtually unreported by the media - are now providing the best medical care in the US (Walter Reed is a DOD hospital).

But as long as we have a cure-focused system that rewards payment-avoidance by insurers, the only benefit to HealthVault will be to insurance companies who'll sue it for access to records to prove pre-existing conditions. Any benefit YOU get will be purely accidental.

Comments welcome, of course. Ever wonder why the rest of the world isn't clamoring for the US health care "system"? Him-m-m.

Topics: Enterprise Software, CXO, Health, Software, IT Employment

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7 comments
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  • This blog exacerbates the

    cancerous poison that is destroying the very foundation of this once great nation. Greed. Pure and simple. Everything now is all about the Benjamin's and nothing else matters.

    Too bad too. ]:)

    But hey not all of us are that pathetic!
    Linux User 147560
  • Way off base

    "America has a system where 30% of our ?health care? dollars go to overhead - insurance clerks and medical billing specialists - instead of health care."

    Your numbers are way off base. You forget all the medical bill auditing companies and the companies that represent hospitals fighting with insurance companies about what is an "R&C" (reasonable and customary) charge for a particular service. And then there are all the TPA's (Third-Party Administrator) that doc claim processing FOR insurance companies and especially self-funded ERISA plans sponsored by employers. And then there are the "repricers" and PPO networks such as HealthSmart, PHCS, etc. They also add THEIR cost to the overall cost of healthcare.

    But, hey, what's a few trillion dollars among friends? ...
    Rick_R
  • Gee this is odd...

    I work in a state-run hospital in PA. HIPAA is the bane of my exixtence. Digital records are just making some inroads...and they're meeting with resistence.

    Why on earth would anybody trust a totally separate entity, outside of the control of anyone really, with their records? This is definitely a control issue. I've had my records lost TWICE by the VA (not to mention compromised) and the only thing I really trust is the paper copy of the 600-odd pages I keep in my safe.
    nwoodson1
  • Nagging included

    I just read an article about HealthVaults on stuff.co.nz titled ?Microsoft stomps on smokers.? http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4238336a11275.html

    Nagging about one?s smoking habit is a benefit that is included for no extra charge.

    That?s wonderful. Now I no longer have to pay my wife to perform that service. Darrell
    Darrell Pruitt DDS
  • This BLOG is a sick joke.

    Once again you come up with a blog that would make the national enquirer green with envy. <br>
    From the title of "Microsoft is losing your data" only to go on to say all filesystems are as bad or WORSE. But you justify your blog by posting you have a Microsoft bias. Yeah, blogging is one hell of a long way from journalism, isn't it. <br>
    Now this beauty, a title that ends basically placing the United States healthcare problems squarely on Microsoft. Bravo! <br><br>
    First of all, universal health coverage is worse. It takes the bureaucracy that is killing the US health system, namely CMS and makes it much larger. Everyone is covered but wait times to see a physician can be horrendous, no matter your condition. <br>
    Get the CMS bureaucracy out of the picture and privitize the management of healthcare and our system would be the absolute best in the world. The argument that any government, you seem to be making here, can run anything as large as universal health coverage is the sick joke. Look at the education system or the highway system or any other national system under control of the Federal government. These are the kinds of things that put the US behind the rest of the world, not the private health insurers. You think an HMO controls your care now? Wait till the feds get control of it.<br>
    I have the displeasure of dealing with government health agencies like the massive, overstaffed and provider unfriendly CMS. Rarely a single day goes by that some department in a hospital does not receive another message from CMS and a very high percentage of the time it's another mandate to add more layers of crud to the existing broken, monolithic system that keeps taking hospital employees away from trying to help patients to implement yet another mandate that is worthless to anyone but CMS.<br>
    Normally it is a mandate for additional data that will reduce CMS payments for Medicare payments. I work with a hospital that has a medicare patient population around 65%. This creates a losing proposition without a great IS team and solution, some very creative cost management and service offerings for the non medicare population. They are slowly using up endowment funds and we are barely keeping afloat. I also don't think this is the only hospital willing to take a loss on medicare patients due to any payment caps (and LOS) on DRGs and the like. No patient leaves this hospital that CMS says needs to leave unless they are healthy enough where they would be normally discharged. <br><br>
    As for healthvault, i think Microsoft has taken more than the required steps to make sure it's a safe product. If you don't want to use it, don't. That's up to the patient to decide. <br>
    Healthcare is about wellness first, of course and without any doubt to the providers, but there is no getting around the business side of it. The non profits I work with are obviously not in it for greed, but the business side is just as important as if they were. This idea by some that greed has taken over may be true in some cases but that's just the way things have been since day one and will always be. The rest of us are trying hard to do the best we can to provide the best care possible at the lowest cost, never foresaking a patient's wellbeing.<br>
    If a web tool might someday help that process, then so be it. I'd trust Microsoft before the Federal government with my data, wouldn't you? And definately moreso than Google, that much is also for certain.<br>
    Just knowing how Google operates in general would make me stay far away from them concerning any healthcare initiative. We do not allow Google desktop nor gmail inbound/outbound. The millions using gmail, I would guess, have no idea their information is for Google's taking and exactly what is posted to google's databases everytime they send or receive an email. There is virtually no privacy policy for the future of your data. And certain critical and identifiable portions of your data, both with gmail and google desktop will reside on Google server indefinately with future use left wide open. There is no policy that says what can Never be done with this data.
    The scary part is people who have to send email to associates or friends who use gmail, who are the least likely to realize their private thoughts and messages are owned by Google even though they are not using a Google product and may never intend to.
    xuniL_z
    • Trust Microsoft?????? (or is it Micro Shaft?)

      Initially, as I read your post, I thought you were a shill for an insurance company. As I read further on, it became apparent that you work for a hospital; and apparently a non profit one. Non profit hospitals are in a special group as far as I am concerned. But [i]trusting[/i] [b]anyone, especially [u]Microsoft[/u] with my medical data[/b] - NO WAY!!!! Your comments about government bureaucrats meddling in health care are "right on".
      fatman65535
    • Working in a hospital has made you sick

      You whine about greed while you betroth the funds of the non-profit hospital that you work at to the greediest corporation this side of the great divide.

      You skipped a stitch, jumped the ditch, or fell off the fence and stuck a splinter in your head, somewhere along the line. Something don't add up.
      Ole Man