Microsoft announces 'Direct' way to move from Google Health to HealthVault

Microsoft has announced that people using the Google Health service – scheduled to close on Jan. 1, 2012 – can transfer personal health information stored in a Google Health profile to a Microsoft HealthVault account using the Direct Project messaging protocols.

The Direct Project, established by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, specifies a simple, scalable, standards-based way for participants to send authenticated, encrypted health information to known, trusted recipients over the Internet.

[See also: Google Health to be shuttered.]

"Google has been an important ally in providing customers with access to their data and tools to better manage care online," said Nate McLemore, general manager, Microsoft Health Solutions Group. "Microsoft continues to advance the HealthVault platform to increase its value to consumers – by adding important features, such as support for mobile devices, and by collaborating with hundreds of health organizations, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and CVS Pharmacy – to deliver robust health and wellness applications that connect to HealthVault."

With nearly 300 applications, the HealthVault platform helps its users manage a wide range of conditions, such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and pregnancy. It also connects to more than 70 devices – including blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors, weight scales, pedometers and peak flow meters – allowing individuals to track, manage and share important health data.

Officials says Microsoft is also focused on enabling hospitals to connect to HealthVault as they seek to create closer interactive relationships with patients through the exchange of information. Many health systems are using Microsoft Amalga, an enterprise health intelligence platform, to bring patient data together from disparate IT systems to streamline operations and coordinate care. These organizations then connect Amalga to HealthVault to allow the patient to receive, store and share his or her personal health information as desired.

[See also: ONC launches Direct Project with pilots in Minn., R.I..]

A Google Health account holder seeking to transfer his or her personal health information to HealthVault can start by selecting the "Send profile to another service" option on the Download menu in Google Health. Google Health will then send his or her Google Health profile directly to HealthVault as an encrypted message using the Direct Project messaging protocols. Users will receive confirmation in Google Health that their profile was sent, and then an email explaining how to create a HealthVault account and complete the data transfer. Complete instructions for using this method, as well as an alternative manual method, can be found here.

Microsoft is also inviting third-parties that have developed Google Health applications to migrate their solutions to the HealthVault platform. Reference materials are available at the HealthVault Developer Center on the Microsoft Developer Network.