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Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente Test Health Data Transfers

The HMO is inviting its 156,000 employees to participate in the health care data transfer test with an eye to opening it up to more participants.

Kaiser Permanente and Microsoft on Monday said they plan to test health care data transfers between Kaiser's My Health Manager service and Microsoft HealthVault, the software company's recently introduced personal health data storage service.

Kaiser Permanente has more than 8 million members, and more than 2 million of them use My Health Manager to access personal health information online, schedule appointments, and order prescription refills. The company is inviting its 156,000 employees to participate in the health care data transfer test. If all goes well, it expects to open the test to more participants.

HealthVault can import and export data in a variety of standards, including XML, HL7 Continuity of Care Document, ASTM Continuity of Care Record, Clinical Document Architecture, and Common Connectivity Device. During the pilot test, data transfer will be limited to a subset of My Health Manager data that includes immunizations, allergies, conditions, and demographic information.

"While other [personal health record] offerings today have experienced slow user adoption, we're seeing rapid and consistent growth," said Anna-Lisa Silvestre, VP of online services at Kaiser Permanente, in a conference call. "Thirty percent of our members actively use online services, and in some of our areas, it's over 50 percent of our membership. Members love the ease of use, the ease and convenience of being able to see their information and have access to a wide range of programs. "

Silvestre expects that working with Microsoft HealthVault will allow Kaiser to give its members the opportunity to manage heath information from more than one source. "We recognize not all health care happens in one health care system, and it's increasingly important that consumers have an easy and trusted way to access information that comes from multiple sources," she said.

Other sources include other medical groups; Google, which last month began offering consumers a Google-branded online health data storage service; and Revolution Health, a health information portal and health data storage service.

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