Today, Microsoft unveiled a new platform of theirs that sounds very good on the surface. HealthVault is a set of software and services designed to let any particular individual collect all of their health information into one location. The scope is quite wide, from medical records to personal health management. Their goal goes beyond just storing the information, however. HealthVault also seeks to inspire the development of new devices or services that utilize this pool of information, allowing a quicker and easier way to compare information in different aspects.
Their goal seems noble enough, to help simplify health:
Our focus is simple: to empower people to lead healthy lives. The launch of HealthVault makes it possible for people to collect their private health information on their terms and for companies across the health industry to deliver compatible tools and services built on the HealthVault platform.
Obviously, storing a slew of medical records in one location would make it a prime target for thieves. While Microsoft is assuring everyone that their security protecting the data is nothing but top notch, one must wonder if it is truly a good idea to rely on a third party to store all this data. One way they will protect data is to ensure it cannot be shown to anyone without your consent. That is assuming, of course, that all their security protections function.
It's a good concept, though I wonder if it is also a good idea. They do have backing from many big players in the medical industry, such as the American Heart Association, which bodes well for the future of this platform. You can read the full press release at Microsoft's site.