Microsoft Releases Tool Allowing Google Health Users To Transfer PHRs

On Monday, Microsoft released a tool allowing users of the Google Health personal health record platform to transfer their data to a Microsoft HealthVault account, CNET reports (Greene, CNET, 7/18).

Last month, Google announced that it will shut down its PHR tool in January 2012 but that users will be able to access and transfer their information until January 2013. After January 2013, any remaining Google Health data will be permanently deleted (iHealthBeat, 6/30).

Transferring Data

The Microsoft tool uses Direct Project messaging standards developed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. The standards provide a framework for the secure exchange of encrypted medical data.

A Google Health account holder can begin the transfer process by selecting "Send profile to another service" from the PHR tool's download menu.

Google Health then will send the user's profile to HealthVault as an encrypted message, using the Direct Project standards.

The user then will receive an email with instructions to create a HealthVault account and complete the data exchange. Additional guidance on transferring Google Health data is available on a Microsoft website (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 7/18).

Editorial Discusses Google Health Closure

A Boston Globe editorial states that Google's plans to shut down its PHR tool is "discouraging news" because when "a company of Google's size and clout has trouble attracting patients, it shows that too much of the public remains skeptical about electronic health records, or would simply rather not think about the way their health information is handled."

The editorial continues, "The demise of Google Health isn't going to stop the nationwide transition to [EHRs]." It concludes, "So far, pressure from the public is the missing part of the equation. But patients need to start being more demanding, too" (Boston Globe, 7/19).

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