Both Google and Microsoft’s HealthVault teams have had equal strokes of genius in the roll-out of their respective platforms. With HealthVault, it was the incorporation of data from a wide range of biometric devices, which today, number some 50+ devices from 9 vendors. (Unfortunately, for me, they have yet to sign-on Garmin as I use the Garmin 305 with heart rate for cycling/training combining it with MapMyRide to record various routes I take. Of course, I could use Training Peaks, which does link into HealthVault, but then I’d have to pay).
Google likewise had their own stroke of genius when they opened up the gates to Google Health last month. For Google it was going after the low hanging fruit and what is often of greatest concern to a physician: What medications is a consumer taking? By partnering with a wide range of pharmacies, Google readily enabled the consumer to upload their medication data to their Google Health PHR. Quite sweet.
Not to be out-done, Microsoft today announced that they have signed an agreement with the large national pharmacy chain, CVS/Caremark. Under the terms of the agreement, consumers will be able to upload not only their medication data, but also their clinical data from visits to MinuteClinics at CVS stores into HealthVault. This service will be available later this fall.
This press release raises a couple of questions:
- When Google Health was announced, CVS MinuteClinic was there with a service that allowed customers to upload MinuteClinic visit notes to Google Health. Surprisingly absent was the inability for CVS to allow the consumer to upload their medication data as well, though there is a statement saying this will be enabled in the future. So with all the other major pharmacy partners of Google Health allowing consumers to upload medication data, why can’t CVS do likewise?
- Secondly, why is HealthVault waiting until the fall to enable the CVS/Caremark capability? Clearly, MinuteClinic is already able to do what they plan – its doing it for Google right now – so why the delay? Is it that Microsoft wishes to wait for CVS to get its house in order for medication data first (why the delay here by CVS is a mystery to me as here is no logic) or is it that Microsoft is building out the services around HealthVault over the summer with plans for a big consumer push this fall? My bet is on the latter.