The British National Health Services may abandon its proprietary national health network in favor of Google Health or Microsoft HealthVault, according to the Daily Mail. Conservative Party leader David Cameron has made it clear that he wants to scrap the Labour Party government’s “centrally determined and unresponsive” plan for a $20 billion national health data network, a system which would not be online until 2014, favoring instead a commercial product. Cameron says that this plan would be up and running sooner, net the government over $1.3 billion annually, be more secure, and give patients more privacy in their health data.
While Google is the “front runner” according to the Daily Mail, and David Cameron’s top adviser is married to Google’s VP of Public Sector Relations in Britain, Rachel Whetstone, Microsoft has made significant headway in the US. Microsoft recently launched a pilot electronic health record (EHR) program with Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed care organization in the US. The program is called MyHealth Manager and provides tools for consumers to access their own health data and access to private, web-based health services.
Also, Microsoft recently partnered with iGuard, a nonprofit online initiative to track prescription drug interactions. iGuard software sends email alerts for any drug interactions, side effects, or treatment duplication based on the prescription and over-the-counter medications and Microsoft HealthVault users who sign up for iGuard.org will automatically receive an email based on the medications that they have previously entered in case of possible drug interactions.
With $800 million of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health IT budget allocated for new programs, competition for the growing US public-sector health IT marketplace is going to be fierce.