Microsoft pitches Google Health users, developers on moving to HealthVault

With Google phasing out its Google Health electronic-records service, Microsoft is wooing Google Health users and developers to move their data and applications over to Microsoft's HealthVault alternative.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

I've had a number of readers ask me whether Microsoft will follow Google in dropping its electronic-health records technology. It looks like the answer is no -- especially given Microsoft's attempt to woo soon-to-be-disenfranchised Google Health users and developers.

Microsoft is attempting to make it easier for Google Health users and developers to move their data and applications over to Microsoft's HealthVault alternative, using the Direct Project messaging protocols established by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

In a July 18 press release, Microsoft officials explained how Google Health users can move their information to Microsoft's platform. From that release:

"A Google Health account holder who wants to transfer his or her personal health information to HealthVault can start by selecting the “Send profile to another service” option on the Download menu in Google Health. Google Health will then send his or her Google Health profile directly to HealthVault as an encrypted message using the Direct Project messaging protocols. Users will receive confirmation in Google Health that their profile was sent, and then an email explaining how to create a HealthVault account and complete the data transfer. Complete instructions for using this method, as well as an alternative manual method, can be found here."

The pitch to developers (from the same press release):

"Third-party organizations that have developed Google Health applications also are invited to migrate their solutions to the HealthVault platform. Documentation, reference materials and a Software Development Kit are available at the HealthVault Developer Center on the Microsoft Developer Network, http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/healthvault, and the business development team at hvbd@microsoft.com is available to answer developers’ questions."

Google officials said last month that the company is “retiring” Google Health as of January 1, 2012, with data stored in its medical-record system available for download through January 1, 2013. Data not removed from Google Health by January 1, 2013, will be permanently deleted, Google execs said. Google officials said that its Health offering didn't catch on as the company expected.

Microsoft is continuing to invest in its cloud-based electronic-medical-record offering, known as HealthVault, which it launched in 2009. It also is holding onto its various health-focused software investments, including its Amalga integration and analysis products. Earlier this year, Microsoft moved its Health Solutions business unit into the same unit as its Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP products. The Health unit has its own sales force and partner channel (at least for the time being).

Update: Microsoft Corporate Vice President Peter Neupert posted a blog entry today reiterating that Microsoft is in the electronic-health records/health IT space for the long haul.

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