Microsoft and Kaiser Permanente, which is the biggest health maintenance organization in the USA, currently develop a patient information exchange program. The pilot program will give more control to patients over their health records.
Internet giant Google launched a similar effort in February of the current year with its Google Health service.
All the data which Kaiser keeps in personal health records, will be moved to HealthVault – a web-based service provided by Microsoft. The new program will allow patients to store and manage their medical data. It will be also possible to share the information selectively.
Such moves are expected to lower healthcare costs. HealthVault will initially be opened to 156,000 employees of the Oakland, California-based healthcare provider.
Kaiser Permanente is an integrated managed care organization, based in Oakland, California, founded in 1945 by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser and physician Sidney R. Garfield. Kaiser Permanente is a consortium of three distinct groups of entities: the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and its regional operating organizations, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and the Permanente Medical Groups. As of 2006, Kaiser Permanente operates in nine states and Washington, D.C., and is the largest managed care organization in the United States. Kaiser Permanente has 8.7 million health plan members, 156,000 employees, 13,729 physicians, 37 medical centers, 400 medical offices, and $34.4 billion in annual operating revenues and $1.3 billion in net income. The Health Plan and Hospitals operate under state and federal not-for-profit tax status, while the Medical Groups operate as for-profit partnerships or professional corporations in their respective regions.
Google Health is a personal health information centralization service by Google. The service allows Google users to volunteer their health records - either manually or by logging into their accounts at partnered health services providers - into the Google Health system, thereby merging potentially separate health records into one centralized Google Health profile.
Volunteered information can include "health conditions, medications, allergies, and lab results". Once entered, Google Health uses the information to provide the user with a merged health record, information on conditions, and possible interactions between drugs, conditions, and allergies.