Frank Arrigo drew my attention to Microsoft's new health product, HealthVault. It's a service to store your personal health information and medical records which may be input by you, your medical professionals, or partners in the HealthVault system such as 3rd party health service providers.
It's built on the principle that "... you should control your own health records."
Australia's outdated and outmoded medical infrastructure is such that sharing of a patient's medical records between a private hospital, a public hospital, a family physician, a treating specialist, a health para-professional and a pharmacist are impossible. The New South Wales Health Department is piloting such a system called Healthelink but the recent troubles in the NSW health system may see wide scale introduction a long way off. Even if it were introduced in NSW, what happens when you go interstate, or overseas?
As is apparent from the current election-mode blame games being played between Federal and State politicians, it is very difficult to get national agreement on the implementation of health systems in Australia. So, a privately run system like Microsoft's HealthVault could be the way to go.
If you want to try out HealthVault yourself, you will need to sign in using a Windows Live ID. the current beta-mode HealthVault is only permitting use by United States residents, so if you are outside the USA, the workaround is to alter your home address in the Windows Live ID account profile to an address inside the USA. As such, and because there are presently no partner sites outside the USA there is certainly limited usefulness for those outside the USA, but go have a look for yourself.
This week the ABC 7.30 Report current affairs programme aired a segment lamenting the lack of electronic accessibility to medical records. Read the transcript here, with link through to vodcast.
Here's the New York Times story about HealthVault which also focuses on the competitiveness within the IT industry to get into the medical records space.