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HealthVault Can Be Used As a Platform for Healthcare–Innovation Without Collaboration Part Two

Posted Aug 19 2011 3:31am

The reason I call this part two is that for a couple of years I wrote about the Common User Interface for medical records which is also still out there and free for the taking and nobody bit on it, but rather we have many different and some complicated interfaces today for medical records. I can’t remember who, but someone on Twitter a while back said we needed a common user interface for medical records and I pointed out the Code Plex site and said it was there, free for the taking, but few bit, with the exception of a doctor I talk with in New Zealand who did quite a bit with it and I have written about Graham on here a couple of times.  I even had a professor from Germany that I chatted with a while back who wrote a medical records system and thought it was something he might want to explore. 

It was funny back in 2008 when I was at HIMSS working to promote tablet PCs and I loaded up the predecessor to the CUI on the unit and walked around with it as all the medical record vendors asked “who’s system is that” and I had to explain it was a

demo I picked up at a TechNet Dot Net meeting:)  It used Windows Foundation before Silverlight was really out there.  That was back in the days when using a tablet still put one in the “goober” category and look where we are today just 3 years later with tablets.  The video to the left shows what the demo looked like. 

Anyway, it looks like we are back once again to the same old thing here and Sean from HealthVault took time out to post about how HealthVault is free and available with no advertising and a heck of a lot of code and security already built in to let all know it’s available, so I am passing the word along. 

I rant here all the time about the gluts of software, especially in the mHealth area that appears almost daily and gee why not save some coding time and efforts, and make it easier for consumers and doctors to tie this all in.  HealthVault also takes advantage of the “Direct” program and was one of the first out of the barrel to write an interface.  One huge advantage here is the connecting of all the devices that are out there, as who in the heck wants to use several different software programs, I don’t and I can safely say consumers don’t want multiple software connections either. 

Who’s going to write a ton of additional code and run up the tab?  It’s what we are doing and as he points out grant money is getting tight as other items for Health IT these days, so reinvent the wheel and shovel out more money without even talking a look?  I don’t write any more but given a choice of some free code with all the built-ins available or start and write an interface from scratch?  No I would not start from scratch and would certainly take advantage of what was out there for fee by all means, and I like the security built in and that too is part of the reason I happened to stay with a Windows phone but that’s another story for another time and you can search and find that post here too. 

So much of the time key executive individuals who have never written a stick of code can’t see this value and today I sit back and read and research the web for this blog and I see it all over the place and it’s expensive too.  Don’t feel bad though have have an entire Congress full of folks that don’t get it at all the they are supposed to make laws to govern it.  FYI, this is where the creative technologists and the CIOs come in real handy as they get it for the most part and know what technologies work with others, that is if they are not over whelmed and over worked to the point to where they have time to help you. 

Even our US CTO occasionally gets carried away with his pep talks with trying to entice developers to “get rich” and help the country with writing code, but we all know that’s not going to happen and again I wish I could see more of a collaboration focus instead of being stuck on “innovation” as we don’t lack there at all, but we do need to do much better in the collaboration area.  Patients and doctors would love it. 

I think the 80% factor Sean mentions as re-plumbing is pretty accurate as again just researching and reading what various software and device companies put out there, kind of validates it.  Why do you think we have so much software out there that nobody uses on the consumer side?  One other quick item comes to mind too and that was the Surgeon General’s PHR which the developers actually did a pretty good job with the API and it went nowhere too, so again something to think about here. 

So what’s the plan here, spend a lot more money and write tons of code to further fragment what we have out there, or maybe think about at least taking a look at free resources that are there to build on.  BD 

Everything we’ve built into the HealthVault platform was created to help developers create connected health experiences --- leaving researchers and innovators free to focus on the novel parts of their work instead of all the plumbing necessary to healthcare. Just as a sampling:

Development on HealthVault is completely free. There is no charge to users, developers or enterprises to connect to HealthVault in the US. There is also no advertising on the system and we have strict terms of use that restrict Microsoft from looking at or selling data stored in the platform.

Privacy, security and compliance are baked in. HealthVault has undergone a ton of internal and external penetration testing and auditing. We have a fully HIPAA-compliant model for interacting with clinical systems, can sign BAAs when appropriate , and are registered with the FDA as a Class 1 medical device . So taking applications into real use is WAY easier that starting from scratch.

Home monitoring devices are already hooked up. More than 70 off-the-shelf home care devices are already connected to HealthVault using HealthVault Connection Center on a PC – and many more that share data with HealthVault through web or wireless connections. So if you want to experiment with blood pressure, glucose, pulse oximetry, weight, ECG, peak flow or heart rates and fitness, you’re ready to go. And if you want to connect a new device directly to HealthVault, there’s an API for doing that too .

Linking to clinical systems is simple. Much of what we do is move data between clinical systems. There are a bunch of patterns for matching patient identities to office systems for this purpose. HealthVault can automatically read and return data in the CCR and CCD (that link is kind of old but a good intro; note we now do data reconciliation automatically) formats that are quickly becoming the easiest way to exchange data with EHRs. We also fully support the Direct secure messaging protocol as another option.

HealthVault supports novel and extensible data types. HealthVault can store full-fidelity DICOM medical images, and allows users to burn them with viewing capability to CDs and DVDs. We have data types for genetic SNP data. And of course all of the clinical and fitness types you could ever think of. Then again, if you do think of a new one --- you can store that too, or extend an existing one.

Mobile development is a snap. Connecting mobile device platforms like iOS, Android and Windows Phone is completely supported with API libraries for each platform .

HealthVault is already connected to many data sources. HealthVault isn’t just about devices and manually-entered data. Users can connect their records to major pharmacies and labs, more and more hospitals and practices, use services that digitize paper records, etc.… so you can do research that uses data without having to figure out how to acquire it all from scratch.

All of this is super-important for research work. Grant money and coding talent is scarce, and I cringe whenever I see somebody presenting research that is 20% new stuff and 80% plumbing that's been done over and over before. By standing on top of HealthVault, smart folks can do more good work and try things that otherwise might have seemed out of reach.


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