Google goes PHR

Well, it appears Google and Microsoft are going to clash once more. As you can read here Google is going for PHR too. Not many details for now, but I’d like to see how these two 800 pound gorillas are going to tackle the usual problems. Healthcare IT is tough, it is so tough that even these two giants can get burned. Let’s wait and see.

Microsoft seems to get it in healthcare

Ok I was planning to write a few word about this, actually more than few, but I realized that I won’t have the time for a long post for a few weeks, so here it is: a few points about PHR.

Personal Health Record is a concept which is not generally pronounced as much as EHR, at least not in my usual environment. However, PHR has some very interesting opportunities, which deserve another post on its own. What I want to point out is that, Microsoft seems to be investing in the idea with HealthVault . It is not only Microsoft however, according to this article American Heart Association, Johnson & Johnson LifeScan, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Mayo Clinic and others are joining the initiative with Microsoft. Now when you have such big boys in a game, that’s a good one to have a look at.

IMHO, key advantage of PHR is that it might relieve the legal burden related to privacy of health data, since it is controlled by the patient. When the legal constraints are weakened, technical issues become more easy to deal with. There are still many things to consider in terms of privacy, security etc, but PHR can really take off. Maybe this might be the key to accessible health data, maybe PHR might be a better approach to the ultimate challenge in medical informatics: sharing data.

I’d like to say that I see another opportunity here: PHR might be a very good application of EHR related initiatives. EHR related work is large, it is huge actually, and covering such large ground makes it hard for everyone from standards people to implementors. I’d really like to see a group of people, say from OpenEHR working on a backend, for a subset of PHR, for example in cardiology domain.