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Mar 30 2011   1:10PM GMT

The David Kibbe perspective: Google Health vs. Microsoft HealthVault

Posted by: Jenny Laurello
Google Health, Microsoft HealthVault, PHR

I recently reached out to Dr. David Kibbe, senior advisor to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and driving force behind their Center for Health IT, to hear his perspective on the future of both Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault’s personal health records (PHR) systems. Specifically, I was interested in hearing Dr. Kibbe’s perspective in regards to the the prolific Continuity of Care Record (CCR) vs. Continuity of Care Document (CCD) standards debate, which has sparked a lot of conversation in the health care industry about the future of both platforms.

Below is Dr. Kibbe’s response, which is not the first instance where he has dismissed the idea that Google is retreating from Google Health. Here I asked for his perspective on a recent article from ZDNet, where the author paints a bleak picture for Google Health — one which Dr. Kibbe feels has been brush stroked too soon.

“Actually, Jennifer, I think the demise of Google Health is a little premature to forecast.  I’ve not seen sources for the WSJ article, and I’ve heard nothing to back up their opinion that Larry Page is going to decrease resources.  My gosh, they’ve only had a few people at Google Health all along!  It’s never been a big initiative for Google.
“Also, I think it’s not the case that Google supports the CCR and Microsoft supports the CCD standard.  Both support both, although Microsoft HealthVault is and has been more accommodating of numerous formats, both structured and unstructured, for information storage in a person’s account there. 
“The CCR standard was pretty much turned over to the industry two years ago by those of us at ASTM, in the sense that no one is managing its implementations in the industry.  The CCR standard is quietly finding lots of applications, and seems to be easy for developers to deploy. 
“People who have a vested interest in the HL7 CDA CCD are continuing to lobby for it, and in some cases attempting to discredit the CCR standard.  That’s just silliness, in my opinion.  Most everyone else is simply trying to use what works, and to comply with ONC regulations.  The market will sort this out, and support for various standards for interoperability will ultimately be decided by users.   Perhaps there will be a new ‘universal health exchange language’ that meets the needs for data liquidity and interoperability that replaces both the CCR and the CCD.  That would be fine with me.
“We’ll continue to develop and maintain the CCR standard as long as there is interest in broad use of XML for modeling of health content.  The next version of the CCR standard will probably be in JSON, which will make it even more easy to use by developers in web and mobile device services.”

David C. Kibbe, MD MBA, is senior advisor for the American Academy of Family Physicians; Chair, ASTM International, E31Technical Committee on Healthcare Informatics; and Principal, The Kibbe Group LLC.

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