Microsoft announces HealthVault: Search, Store, Connect health information

HVLogo Some changes to caught our eye last night, and today Microsoft announces HealthVault.  The new set of services, which you can access from, provides a secure place to search, and also to collect and store health information which can then be shared with doctors, hospitals, etc.

Microsoft is making a major push in health search and health care information.  Interestingly, it is also promoting search privacy heavily in this announcement:

Created in cooperation with leading privacy advocates, respected security experts and dozens of the world’s leading healthcare organizations, HealthVault is designed and built to enhance privacy while providing people with the control they expect and require.

“Microsoft is the first major technology company to engage with the bipartisan Coalition for Patient Privacy in a serious way. The privacy protections built into HealthVault reflect the privacy principles of the Coalition. HealthVault prohibits onward transfer of data without explicit informed consent; its contractual obligations with advertisers require protection of any data transferred from the platform; its privacy policy is simple and easy to understand,” said Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation. “That means consumers finally have a trusted place to store their personal health information that will not be data-mined, because they alone control it. Microsoft’s use of strong privacy principles including the principles of the Coalition, its ongoing relationship with consumer advocates, and its commitment to independent third-party audits set a new standard for privacy protections in health information technology.”

Providing secure, private search and data storage for health information is a noble effort, but this announcement also seems to be taking a shot at a certain data-mining intensive search provider.  Looks like battle lines are being drawn.

HealthVault appears when you visit, in the form of the Scrapbook, where you can store search information,


or by going to, where all three components of HealthVault are laid out – Search – Account – and Connection Center:


A quick explanation of the service can be found in the FAQ:

What is Microsoft HealthVault?

HealthVault is a free online service that allows you to gather, manage, and benefit from health and fitness information for you and your family. 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 and have access to online health management tools that you trust.

You can store health information for many people (such as your family and even your pets) in one HealthVault account. Each person’s information is stored and accessed separately.

You can choose to share specific information (or all information) with:

  • other people (such as your doctor or personal trainer, for example)
  • programs that use the raw data you store in HealthVault to provide information to you about managing your health

HealthVault Search stores your scrapbooks in HealthVault.

The Connection Center is a secure way to connect health monitor devices, for example, to the health vault:

HV Connection Center

..right now a pretty small list but this will grow.  What this means is that HealthVault will offer an easy way to take your own blood pressure, for example, and securely transmit it to doctors or others that you trust and allow.

HealthVault seems to be a well thought out, secure and private, and simple set of services for managing health information, one that may prove invaluable once it gains acceptance throughout the health community.