Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente Launch E-Health Record Pilot

The program will test the exchange of patient health data from Kaiser Permanente's My Health Manager e-health record system to Microsoft's HealthVault platform.
It is the addition of this kind of new functionality -- such as incorporating and sharing data from health monitoring devices -- that Kaiser Permanente users will be able to add to their personal e-health records running on the HealthVault platform, says Neupert.

Also, by making this data available to Kaiser Permanente patients via the Web-based Microsoft platform, patients are no longer "tethered" to Kaiser Permanente systems to access this data, especially if they change employers, health plans, or receive treatment from health-care providers that are not part of the Kaiser Permanente network, says John Moore, a managing partner at Chilmark Research, a Boston-based analyst firm.

"As a patient, I might have multiple caregivers at any time, dozens over a lifetime," he says. The approaches by Google and Microsoft both aim to provide consumers with platforms to gather and manage personal health information over the long haul, he says.

By aligning themselves with third-party sources for patient data and other tools, "Google and Microsoft are both making big platform plays as cloud-type providers of health data to consumers," he says. "

Kaiser says it will transfer from My Health Manager to HealthVault five basic data fields, including patient immunization, medication, allergies, and summary health information. This data will be transferred into patients' HealthVault personal e-health records using health industry import and export standards such as WC3 eXtensible Markup Language (XML), HL7 Continuity of Care Document (CCD), ASTM Continuity of Care Record (CCR), Clinical Document Architecture (CDA), and Common Connectivity Device.

The pilot will be offered to an unspecified number of Kaiser's 156,000 employees, most of who are also members of the Kaiser Permanente health plan and already have access to their health records electronically through the Kaiser Permanente system, My Health Manager.

Although KP hasn't specified how many employees it expects to volunteer for the pilot, Anna-Lisa Silvestre, Kaiser Permanente VP of online services says it'll likely be "at least 100." If Kaiser Permanente decides to later roll out the HealthVault interoperability to all 8 million-plus health plan members -- not just employees -- patients will be able to opt in to having their data exchanged with HealthVault.

"If the pilot is successful, over time [patients] will be able to choose other data fields" to move into the HealthVault platform besides the five initial ones, says Silvestre.

Kaiser Permanente already has what's believed to be the nation's largest rollout of e-medical records. To date, Kaiser Permanente health-care providers use the company's e-health records system in the care of about 2 million patients.