Obstacles Facing Microsoft’s HealthVault Initiative

When Microsoft announed its “HealthVault” concept I frankly just burst out laughing. It was back in 1999 when I proposed this concept to Intel Capital, the idea being to establish a place at Intel.com where users could store sensitive information, in particular health care records. The idea was to drive the project, not from a software perspective, but rather from that a bank would use with respect to safety deposit boxes.

With Bill Gates friend and collaborator Warren Buffett being one of the biggest players in the health insurance industry, including medical malpractice, and Microsoft’s numerous strategic partnerships with drug companies and others in the health care industry, one has to wonder who would trust Microsoft with this information. And even if you trusted them, would they be competent enough to not have their vault hacked and the information sold to health insurance companies.

In reviewing the emails between Intel capital and myself it was interesting to note that they clearly liked the idea but were looking to me to lead some kind of effort. My attitude was, hey, you are Intel with all the software and hardware connections. Give it to an ambitious project leader and put me on the board to help maintain the integrity of the idea from a non-technology standpoint.

In reviewing Microsoft’s preliminary concepts regarding its HealthVault, they clearly don’t have the perspective that will make it a success. They look more and more like a disoriented mass of confusion aboard a sinking ship grasping at opportunities they will never realize because such opportunities require partners who trust them, a group not in abundance these days.