Washington pilots PHR bank with Microsoft, Google
 The Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) has launched three consumer-managed Health Record Bank pilot projects in three regions of the state, in conjunction with Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health personal health record (PHR) systems.

The Washington associations involved are:
  • St. Joseph Hospital Foundation and the Critical Junctures Institute in Bellingham,
  • Community Choice Healthcare Network in Cashmere, and
  • Inland Northwest Health Services in Spokane.

The HCA said that the Health Record Banks provide patients a place to securely store personal health information in one location using web-based tools available from both Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health. The online portals link patients to their Health Record Bank account where they can create, view and share a copy of their health information.

The pilots will be one of the first Health Record Banks in the United States that allow patient control, according to the HCA.

The pilots received $1.7 million in state grants to test the viability, value and use of personalized online health records. The state funds were made available through legislation and the recommendations of Gov. Chris Gregoire's Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care, which advocates the use of technology for sharing information between patients and providers.

"We view this effort as an important step in making information available to connect all points of the health ecosystem including hospitals, physicians, and the home environment," said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Health Solutions Group.