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Inside HealthVault Developer’s Conference

by John Moore | June 20, 2008

I’m extremely squeezed for time this afternoon addressing demand for the PHR Market Report and having to cut out for early for an event tonight, but as promised, following are the highlights from interviews I had with several people who attended the HealthVault Developer’s Conference last week.  All information was provided in confidence, so no names or affiliations.

In quick bullet form…

  • Overall, good well run event and well attended, over 500 attendees.  About a 50/50 split between business types and developers.
  • Not all that useful for those who have been working with Microsoft for the last several months.  Those new to Microsoft, received more out of the event.
  • Behind the scenes, Microsoft had a separate event starting first thing Monday morning for large provider networks, academic hospitals and the like to encourage their adoption of HealthVault.
  • Demos were a mixed bag, some good, some pretty worthless.
  • A lot of discussion about connecting into EMR data, for example co-development initiatives with EMR vendors AllScripts and Eclipsys, but no discussion on what processes that would enable – “a missed opportunity”.
  • They did do a demo on moving data between the Dossia/Indivo platform and HealthVault.  Interesting thing here is that there was no one from Dossia even at this event.
  • HealthVault is gathering steam.  There are now quite a few apps on the platform, usability has greatly improved and a consumer can now actually do something useful with HealthVault today.
  • The HealthVault team still has a long ways to go to get physicians on board.  While there were many in attendance, few physicians/large provider networks were willing to commit at this time.
  • HealthVault team acknowledges there is a long road ahead and they will not be able to simply ignore paper-based records, there is a transition that they are committed to supporting.  Despite that long road, there is a sense of optimism among attendees that current momentum will carry the day.
  • Reference was made to Microsoft’s Go-to-Market strategy for Xbox.  It began with getting developers to build games for the Xbox, which took a couple of years before there was enough games for Xbox to really start driving consumer adoption.  Microsoft foresees a similar scenario for HealthVault in that the apps being developed today are an investment in the future.  Acknowledgment by Microsoft that it may well be 2010 before any significant volume in consumer adoption is achieved.
  • Despite it being a HealthVault event, there was lots of discussion among attendees seeking to compare notes on Microsoft versus Google and Dossia.  Everyone seeking to determine which horse to bet on.
  • Universal concern among the vendors I spoke to regarding Microsoft’s commitment to marketing the HealthVault brand.  Some I spoke to stated that they have seen Zero traffic from HealthVault, but they have certainly pushed traffic to HealthVault.  No reciprocation and they do have a major gripe here that was not allayed by any statements made at the event.  One vendor was upset in that not only are they not seeing any traffic from HealthVault, and Microsoft wants them to push the HealthVault brand, but Microsoft is also encouraging them to spend advertising dollars on the HealthVault search site.  As I stated yesterday, Microsoft would be wise to rethink their marketing strategy.

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