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Microsoft Seeks RFID Support for HealthVault

The software giant is encouraging companies to develop RFID applications for the free online medical database service it recently launched.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 17, 2007Although Microsoft currently has no RFID partners for its free online medical database service, known as HealthVault, the software company says it is open to including RFID technology in its HealthVault platform, and encourages the RFID industry to innovate solutions.

Launched in a beta version on Oct. 4, HealthVault allows consumers to set up their own private health-record repository, and is designed to enable users to manage their health and wellness information online. The personal information a consumer chooses to input is stored in encrypted form. The user sets up personal privacy controls, including a password, and determines which information goes into the account—and who can access it.

"Consumers are the primary target audience with HealthVault," says Sean Nolan, chief architect for Microsoft Health Solutions Group. "Microsoft has designed the HealthVault platform so that consumers are in complete control over their personal health information. They decide who can access their information, and when." Nolan adds that "Microsoft is interested in leveraging RFID and smart-card technology within the HealthVault ecosystem, in particular as a form of in-person identity management."

Currently, Nolan says, there are 16 devices and applications that work with the HealthVault platform. Microsoft is working with more than 40 organizations, including device manufacturers, health-care organizations and hospitals, to build solutions that can provide greater accessibility to the data required by patients and physicians.

Among Microsoft's existing partners for this system are Home Diagnostics and Johnson & Johnson for blood glucose monitors; Omron and MicroLife for hypertension and weight monitors; and Polar for heart-rate monitors. These devices can be used to download data directly into a HealthVault account, enabling consumers to track their health on a regular basis and make that data available to their health-care providers if they so choose.

"Microsoft is encouraging partners to continue to innovate," Nolan says, "and would expect RFID to ultimately be a part of the solutions within the HealthVault ecosystem."

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