Friday, October 5, 2007

Microsoft's New Online Tools Face Obstacles, Competition

Microsoft on Thursday joined a crowded field of technology and insurance companies offering personal health records, raising questions about whether consumers will use the new product, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Large health insurers -- like UnitedHealth, which operates PacifiCare and WellPoint -- have offered Web-based PHRs for a couple of years and believe they have an advantage over outside vendors, such as Microsoft, because they can preload each enrollee's PHR with claims information (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 10/5).

Microsoft hopes that individuals will grant physicians, clinics and hospitals the right to transmit prescriptions, test results and other medical information directly to their HealthVault account (iHealthBeat, 10/4). However, providers have little incentive to share the data or resources to populate an electronic record, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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