At Microsoft, we like to say healthcare is fundamentally a data issue – who has it, who has access to it, when do you utilize it and what can it tell you that you didn’t know 10 minutes ago. As a provider, you can’t make the right treatment decisions without the right information. By the same token, as a patient, you can’t learn how to stay healthy without the right information. Technology has the potential – when implemented correctly – to break down the health information silos that have existed for decades and help improve health across the nation.

This morning the U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin announced a collaboration with Microsoft HealthVault that will provide new features and expand access to My Family Health Portrait. My Family Health Portrait is part of the Surgeon General's Family Health History Initiative a collaborative initiative supported by agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The collaboration with Microsoft allows consumers to easily record their family health history and integrate the information stored in their My Family Health Portrait profile into a personal HealthVault account.  As a result, consumers will be able to share their My Family Health Portrait  information with a variety of health care providers and services that connect to HealthVault.  How many times have you been asked to fill out your family health history at your doctor’s office? They ask for a reason, as family history can play a pivotal role in an individual’s current and future health care needs.

Announcing the collaboration Dr. Benjamin said, “This announcement is an important advancement in primary care and disease prevention by making family health history data available and accessible to consumers and practitioners.”

With a more complete picture of your family’s health, you can work with your healthcare professionals, and with all the health and wellness applications connected to HealthVault, to make more informed decisions. 

The HealthVault team has a nice example of how HealthVault works here. And much more information is on the HealthVault site.

Posted by David Cerino
General Manager, Health Solutions Group.