Microsoft launches US fund to promote development of HealthVault
28 February 2008
Microsoft Corp has launched the $3 million Microsoft HealthVault Be Well
Fund to stimulate the research and development of online tools for its
health application platform, HealthVault.
The announcement was made at the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society (HIMSS) 2008 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Florida this
week, where early examples of provider-patient scenarios on the platform
were on show.
The fund is aimed at stimulating solution development across a broad
range of health disciplines that have the potential to improve health
outcomes for both patients and health-conscious consumers.
This supports the goal of the HealthVault platform, which is focused on
creating an ecosystem of health solutions that accelerate connections
between consumers, physicians and the information they need to make informed
decisions — decisions that are appropriately personalized based on access to
a complete view of an individual's up-to-date data.
"Whether you are a healthcare provider or consumer, the inability to
access information where and when it's needed is a huge source of
frustration and can result in incomplete care and wellness decisions," said
Peter Neupert, corporate vice president, Health Solutions Group, Microsoft.
"As consumers begin to demand better health solutions, and providers look
to better engage with their patients, the industry can benefit from a
renewed push for innovative development that will bring to life
yet-to-be-imagined Web applications that help people live longer, healthier
Microsoft is soliciting proposals from areas that include, but are not
limited to, the following:
- Track 1: Primary prevention applications. Proposals targeting
primary prevention could help people and caregivers create and maintain
strategies that prevent or delay onset of disease by reinforcing healthy
lifestyle factors and addressing modifiable risk factors such as
hypertension and weight.
- Track 2: Secondary prevention applications. The
identification of major modifiable risk factors (such as dyslipidemia,
hypertension, smoking, obesity and inactivity) is a prerequisite to the
implementation of preventative interventions — known as secondary
prevention. Proposals in this category could help people and their
caregivers measure things such as blood pressure, lipid profile
components (LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides), diet and
nutrition, weight, smoking, and activity level to create the optimal
plan to prevent or delay morbidity and acute care.
- Track 3: Acute care applications. Certain conditions require
immediate diagnosis and treatment, whether at the doctor's office or in
an urgent care setting. Proposals targeting acute care scenarios might
track progress, improve communication and share data between the silos
in the healthcare system, providing caregivers with a longitudinal view
of a patient's health history that ultimately may lead to superior
- Track 4: Juvenile disease management applications. Health
conditions in children often require specialized detection, diagnosis
and treatment. Parents typically become eager partners in the plan of
care, and seek information specifically related to their child's
condition. Proposals focusing on juvenile disease management might
provide age- appropriate tools to help children, parents and caregivers
understand and manage their conditions.
- Track 5: Women's health management applications. Women's
health issues can be complex and are often influenced by biopsychosocial
and environmental factors. Proposals targeting this track might choose
to create online tools or services that help manage health within the
context of lifestyle and family; and
- Track 6: Community and social health applications.
Patients and caregivers dealing with illness or people interested in
wellness are increasingly sharing information and support with each
other through various Web-based social applications. Proposals targeting
this category might include applications for health in areas such as
collaboration, communication and the use of social relationships to
All qualifying organisations must be based in the United States.
Proposals will be accepted up to 9 May, 2008 and notification of the
grant winners will be made 1 July, 2008.
Proposals will be evaluated on their potential to significantly advance
the state of health in one or more areas of focus and demonstrate the
potential for expansion into a large-scale program. The total fund pool is
US$3 million, with a maximum of US$500,000 awarded for any individual
proposal. All proposals will be reviewed by a panel of healthcare industry
leaders, chosen by the Microsoft Health Solutions Group.
Eligible organisations must be either an accredited degree-granting
college or university with nonprofit status and awarding degrees at the
baccalaureate level or above, or a research or health institution with
nonprofit status. Private-sector organizations may partner with these
institutions and qualify for the grant.
Proposals must make use of the Microsoft HealthVault platform, a free
Web-based platform designed to put people in control of their health data,
and leverage HealthVault Search to reinforce the project's value through
contextual information and education.
Use of non-Microsoft applications on Windows, cross-platform development,
and interoperability with other operating systems and applications are all
The RFP is available at
http://healthvault.com/fund . The HealthVault software development kit
and further guidance on how to develop HealthVault applications can be found
Commitment to interoperability
The fund's push for industry innovation builds on Microsoft's recent
announcement that the company will release HealthVault XML interfaces under
the Microsoft Open Specification Promise (OSP). The OSP is a simple and
clear way to help developers and solution providers working with commercial
or open source software to implement specifications through a simplified
method of sharing of technical assets, while also recognizing the legitimacy
of intellectual property.
Further reinforcing the company's commitment to open interoperability,
Microsoft is hosting a HealthVault community open source project — an
implementation of the HealthVault API wrapper for the Java development
environment — on Microsoft CodePlex, Microsoft's open source project hosting
website. This will be the first of many projects designed to make it easier
for developers and solution providers to use the language and framework of
their choice to deliver HealthVault-compatible applications.
Additional information on the group's commitment to interoperability can
be found at