Google, Microsoft Need to Share Health Partners

HealthVault manager says online services for health data don't want to fragment records.

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Word came the other day that CVS Caremark had inked a deal with HealthVault, the Microsoft site for storing personal health records. Oh, no, I thought. Here we go again, fragmenting the already highly fragmented state of our medical records.

Just a few weeks ago, Walgreens had announced a deal with Google Health. So now we have two big drugstore chains signed up with competitors for storing our health records. For those of us who do business with both chains, we'd be stuck using at least two services to download just our prescription records.

So, will my medical insurer sign on with a site that's different from my dental insurer? My doctor? My hospital? My labs? Is this progress?

The HealthVault product manager assures me it is. The good news is that the large holders of medical records, such as the drugstore chains, are willing to participate in these online efforts to consolidate personal medical data and let us better manage our health, says George Scriban at Microsoft.

"We're not interested in creating further silos of data," Scriban says. He says Google, Microsoft, Intuit, and others fully expect to share many partners. Google and Microsoft, for example, already share as a partner Allscripts, which sells software to doctors and clinics.

Google has even partnered with MinuteClinic, which runs a chain of retail clinics and happens to be owned by CVS Caremark. So it would seem, under Scriban's scenario, that CVS sharing its prescription records with Google Health is not far behind. I hope he's right.

medical records

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