You had me at free (since 2007)

Yesterday's Financial Times article Microsoft drops US HealthVault profit plans has been making its way through the social media machine with remarkable efficiency --- it's appeared at least a couple of dozen times on my Twitter feed already.

Problem is, the article misses its mark, since our strategy hasn't changed since launch.

HealthVault is part of our overall business, but we've never intended to "make a profit" on it as a standalone product in the United States. Since day one, we've talked about this as part of the design principles of HealthVault in the US. Here's a slide I presented during the first HealthVault Developers Conference in 2008, just a couple of months after we debuted the platform:


HealthVault is an important and core part of our end-to-end strategy for connecting care across the healthcare ecosystem. Together with our enterprise products, it enables true patient-centric care and understanding. And yes, it is core to our business model in at least three key ways:

  1. HealthVault in the US is our "model home" for innovation in the ecosystem. We currently have 141 applications and 71 healthcare devices connected to the platform --- and those numbers are growing.
  2. We bundle up that innovation and license it internationally. With last week's launch of Assignio, the German instance of HealthVault operated and marketed by Siemens IT Solutions, HealthVault is now live in three countries outside the US (Canada, Germany and the UK) --- with a growing pipeline. Having demonstrated value and incubated partners in the States, it is much easier for sponsors internationally to understand the per-citizen ROI of the technology.
  3. Worldwide (including in the US), HealthVault helps drive sales of Amalga and HealthVault Community Connect, our products focused on the healthcare enterprise. Both are "pre-wired" to HealthVault, supporting scenarios such as patient engagement and remote monitoring - features that are in high demand from our customers.

The article also indicates that we charged CMS for our integration of Blue Button data into HealthVault. This too is inaccurate --- we did this work on our own, to help enable veterans and Medicare beneficiaries to manage their health and wellness by using HealthVault and HealthVault-connected applications like the Mayo Clinic Health Manager.

Microsoft is really quite good at staying the course with a good idea. HealthVault has already played a key role in shifting the international dialogue about the individual's right to understand and participate actively in their own care. Our open ecosystem is a critical factor in that success and in the growing momentum we're riding worldwide. Still staying on target!