Received a note from a Microsoft representative today with some pretty big news regarding HealthVault. The news centers around efforts that the HealthVault team are taking to simplify the development, by partners, of solutions that will leverage the HealthVault platform. These efforts can be broken down into three distinct steps:
- Creating a number of “open-wrapper” libraries to facilitate development across a variety of environments. These libraries will be stored in a new Codeplex project that has been established for HealthVault.
- By late Spring of this year the HealthVault group will release the complete .Net software development kit (SDK) on Codeplex.
- They will release the complete HealthVault platform XML interface protocols including making all specifications public. Wow!
With these three steps Microsoft is signaling its intent to provide its partners (Personal Health Application (PHA) vendors) the flexibility and tools they need to not only create applications that will run in the HealthVault environment, (though I’m sure apps will be optimized for such) but will also run in other envirornments, for example Dossia.
Three key points:
- Microsoft really has no choice as HealthVault is really nothing more than a data repository without these partners. With Dossia driving a similar model and Google in the wings, well…
- Microsoft has to move fast to gain a critical mass of partners to make the whole HealthVault model work as HealthVault will fail if all they can do is bring a few small players into the fold. By demonstrating “openness” and “flexibility”, Microsoft is allowing PHA vendors to leverage existing development resources to create solutions that will operate in the HealthVault environment while concurrently allowing these partners to create solutions that will operate elsewhere, as well. This will instill a lot of goodwill among its present and future partners.
- Microsoft will monetize this openness long-term by keeping developers in the .Net camp.
What I’d like to see from Microsoft is their embracement of PDF-Healthcare. They are almost there as Microsoft has committed to adopting CCR and CCD standards. Taking the next step and adopting PDF-Healthcare will signal to me that they truly are serious regarding openness.
If you want to delve far deeper into the subject, encourage you to visit the new site of HealthVault’s Lead Architect, Sean Nolan. He has a great post on this announcement that was the basis for this post.