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Microsoft launches Healthvault

Microsoft HealthVault

Microsoft HealthVault

Three years after Microsoft launched its HealthVault cloud-based health-organiser platform in the US, it has announced the platform has launched in the UK.

HealthVault is designed to allow organisations to develop applications that led individuals monitor various aspects of their physiological performance, based on user-supplied data such as body mass index, blood pressure and heart rate.

"HealthVault is aimed at the 13 percent of the UK population who are actively engaged in monitoring their wellness," Dave Coplin, Microsoft's national technology officer said.

HealthVault allows individuals to store their own and their family's health information in a secure cloud-based storage system. Users control who can look at the data by specifying which applications and organisations have access rights, and can also audit who has accessed the data.

Developing HealthVault

In the UK, Microsoft has worked with Nuffield Health on applications for HealthVault, and hopes to talk to organisations such as the British Heart Foundation and the British Diabetic Association to develop monitoring apps. HealthVault

John Coulthard, Senior Director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Microsoft UK, said, "Not only does HealthVault put users in charge of their own health data, but it also offers huge opportunities for organisations in the healthcare ecosystem to build applications and services that help people engage in their health and wellness."

Microsoft has provided a software development kit (SDK) for developers based on Microsoft's .Net platform. For open source and developers on different proprietary platforms, Coplin said that HealthVault had a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) available on CodePlex, Microsoft's open-source repository, which would allow coders to develop languages including PHP and Python.

Microsoft has no plans to allow information exchange between HealthVault and NHS systems such as Summary Care Records. In addition, Microsoft said it would not at present integrate HealthVault with the NHS health organisation suite, HealthSpace.

Applications which interact with the HealthVault database must comply with Microsoft security and privacy policy, said Coplin. The cloud platform will be hosted in the UK at the same data centre as used by government organisation the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). Under European data protection law, citizen information must not be sent outside of Europe without consent. The UK data centre is administered by UK technology company Attenda.

Law enforcement and the intelligence services will only have access to the information should they present a warrant, said Coplin.


Jodie Humphries

Jodie Humphries graduated from Bath Spa University with a BA Hons in Creative Writing in 2008. She has worked for GDS Publishing for the digital group since July 2009. She has previous experience with writing for the web, running her own website since April 2007.

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