In what will likely be on e of the “bigger” announcements here at the Health 2.0 conference, Aetna and Microsoft made the joint announcement that beginning in November, Aetna members who use the Care-Engine PHR (underlying technology is ActiveHealth which Aetna acquired a couple of years back), will be able to export their records to their HealthVault account.
According to inside sources the CCD standard will be used to transmit records from the Aetna PHR to HealthVault upon a member’s request. Specific data objects taht will be transmitted include:
- Lab Results
- Vital Signs (not sure what is meant by this term – alive or zoombie?)
- Advanced Directives (assume this is only if they entered such information into the Aetna PHR)
- Family History (same as advanced directives)
- Insurance Information
This news is somewhat ironic in that shortly after the launch of HealthVault, Aetna’s CEO Williams called Microsoft’s effort (and Google’s pending effort) as nothing more than “Vaporware.”
Times change and clearly Aetna now sees this move as a savvy PR play and is hitching itself to the HealthVault bandwagon. And Aetna deserves a lot of credit for taking this bold move while the rest of the payer industry grudgingly drags its feet on providing their members true portability of their data. Sure, it may only be claims data, which is of limited utility to clinicians, but it is a damn sight better than nothing. (Note, we are actually pretty bullish on Aetna as they are one of the few providers that is really doing some innovative things with regards to consumer engagement, including plenty of full page ads in the WSJ).
The real beneficiary here though (well of course beyond the consumer/Aetna member) is Microsoft. The announcement adds further credibility to the HealthVault concept (Kaiser’s announcement in early June was another big one) that will further push the market forward.
While Microsoft gets the limelight with this announcement, do not expect any large payer to have an exclusive arrangement with any one platform play. Sure Aetna has signed on to HealthVault, but one can place a heavy bet that they will make a similar announcement with Google within the next 6 months or so.