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Microsoft Connected Health Conference: HealthVault EMR / My first Twitter ‘chat’

June 11, 2009

I was invited by an Account Supervisor from a PR firm to participate in a small component of Microsoft’s Connected Health Conference. Since I’m not in Washington state, the way people like me could participate was via Twitter chat. Basically, we read and write tweets using a hash tag (#datalib) for discussions on the subject.

Said rep. suggested as a way of easily joining in. So, at Thursday at noon, I prayed that the wireless connection would hold up and jumped in.

I wanted to try it out a) to try my hand at this new form of chatting, b) to see what the whole thing was about, and c) to meet some other relevant Twitterers. And I satisfied all three of those interests.

a) The twitter chat:

  • It was a bit disjointed. The moderator started asking questions; then we decided to introduce ourselves. So we did, and got rolling right away.
  • There were multiple threads of conversation going on at the same time, just like in a regular chat. Only, they were all sort of about the same topic, so it was pretty hard to follow who was replying to what.
  • That said, the kind of discussion we had would probably be better suited to threads on a message board.
  • I was afraid the whole time that all the things I was posting in #datalib would be confusing to any of my Twitter Followers who didn’t know I was in the middle of a ‘chat’ session
  • It promptly ended, with no summary or conclusion; more questions than answers; and a someone better understanding of why Twitter is not a chat program!
  • Here’s the transcript, dynamic though it may be: #datalib
  • Overall, not bad for a first go! Kudos to the moderators who were handling a barrage of questions from all angles.

b) the Topic

  • We started trying to define data liberation; I threw in terms like ‘transparency,’ and ‘accessibility’
  • Specifically I was curious about HealthVault form the health-care provider’s perspective, and what I and my patients could get out of it
  • From what I gather, HealthVault is a Microsoft construct that will allow patients (or their designated care-givers) access to a universal, digital health record; it will be accessible from any number of portals, where patients can enter and review their data; it’s not entirely clear to me  how the records will be accessible to healthcare providers, but there will be some form of permission needed to be granted by the patient to do so

  • There were some tech/integration/compatibility questions, but they were deferred to the website
  • One chatter suggested an ID card that could be swiped at ‘Health Kiosks,’ that would bring up a patient’s file; the moderators mentioned access from mobile phones and other options
  • We voiced praise for Health Vault: reducing redundancy, empowering patients, patient safety
  • And we voiced concerns: patients having direct access to data without an interpreter (doctor) could be dangerous, physicians might be reluctant without incentives/compensation, user-fees would deter patients, those not tech-inclined or without caregivers who are may fall through the cracks
  • It’s already happening in Hawaii, and it looks good (mind you, this IS an advertisement): see Microsoft Health Stories
  • @HealthVault asked us what benchmarks should be used, I replied the “only benchmark that matters would be chronic care outcomes; morbidity & mortality improvements in HV vs. non-users.”
  • Lots of unanswered and new questions…

I’ve seen Microsoft and eHealth in the news lately. There has been talk of Telus and Microsoft being involved in managing patient-centered eHealth records for Canada. I might add, they are planning to use Health Vault. I hope they ask us, first!

and finally:

c) New people

  • Managed to ‘meet’ a good handful of relevant Twits (!), including @SusannahFox, @cindythroop, @donshep, @iChrisBarnes, @connectologist, @PatrickMann, @pondisci, @ThroopCat, for anyone reading this who wants to find some professionals/patients with similar interests

It worked out well enough and certainly piqued my interest in the HealthVault or similar constructs. I’ve wanted something as integrative as this for as long as I can remember, I’m just  going to have to think a lot more about this patient- (as opposed to provider-) centred model.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. lhw permalink
    June 23, 2009 3:54 pm

    I enjoyed your description of the event and your experience with Twitter; I have found the same; Twitter seems to be good for disseminating short bits of info, but holding a conversation over it is kinda tricky. As for HealthVault, I am curious to know more about how you think that this could work effectively to improve or enhance the patient/physician conversation.

    • June 25, 2009 11:43 pm


      Well, HealthVault by it’s very nature will demand more patient/physician time dedicated to updating the record; certainly it will give patients another tool to start a dialogue with their physician, and that’s always a good thing. The initial investment of filling it out may mean for more time at future appointments to actually discuss health, rather than focusing on re-taking a medical history or digging around in a paper chart for ancient lab results. Hopefully the patient’s health awareness will also improve. The sophistication with which they speak about their illnesses may greatly increase. Instead of talking about ‘a problem with my sugars’ patients may be more likely to take ownership of _diabetes_, their blood-sugar record, and sticking to their treatment plan if they have it all recorded and organized in one place.

      Those are just a few ideas!


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