Microsoft says it’s closing its HealthVault patient records service

Creating health-related products and services is a major focus for most big tech firms, with each one exploring different ways of establishing a presence in the industry.

Part of those plans can involve ditching existing systems no longer deemed viable, and in recent days Microsoft has been informing HealthVault users that the web-based service will be closing down on November 20, 2019.

Microsoft launched HealthVault in 2009 as a way for individuals to store their health records, which they could then share with medical professionals of their choosing, as and when required. The system also accepted data linked to devices such as heart monitors and other diagnostic equipment, giving health care providers access to up-to-date patient information.

In an email sent to users in recent days, the computer giant declined to give a reason for closing HealthVault, saying only that all data connected to the account will be deleted in five months’ time.

The message, seen by ZDNet, recommends users take action soon if they wish to save their account data, listing two possible options. For U.S. users, it suggests switching to, for example, FollowMyHealth or Get Real Health, the latter of which is also recommended for international users.

Microsoft also pointed out that anyone currently using an application that is dependent on the HealthVault service should contact the provider for advice as such applications may stop working once the HealthVault service is shut down.

Anyone with questions about their HealthVault data or Microsoft’s plan to end the service is advised to contact HealthVault’s customer support.

The news of Microsoft’s decision to close the service comes a couple of years after it stopped making the Band fitness tracker. More recently, the company announced it was also ending support for the Band’s web-connected Health Dashboard apps and services at the end of May 2019.

Microsoft’s recent steps in the health sector indicate a move away from customer-facing efforts in favor of business-related services. Just a couple of months ago, for example, the company announced new capabilities for Microsoft Teams that allow healthcare teams to communicate and collaborate in a secure hub, and wider availability of its Healthcare Bot service that helps organizations create A.I.-powered, compliant virtual assistants and chatbots for a variety of healthcare experiences.

Social Media

Facebook says it unintentionally uploaded email contacts of 1.5 million users

Facebook says that over the last two years it unintentionally uploaded the email contacts of 1.5 million users as they signed up to the social networking service. The process has ended and the email addresses are being deleted.
Computing

Microsoft reveals details of Surface Hub 2S, coming in June at $9,000

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.
Gaming

Here’s how to slay Grim Matchstick the dragon in Cuphead

Cuphead's arrival on Nintendo Switch means a new swath of players will get to meet Grim Matchstick, the fiery dragon who drastically raises the difficulty in the outgoing stretch. Our guide will help you slay the dragon for good.
Computing

Hackers broke into Outlook.com using worker’s credentials, Microsoft says

Microsoft's web-based email services were the target of a security beach. Using a customer support agent's credentials, hackers were possibly able to access email addresses and subject lines, but fortunately not their content.
Health & Fitness

Competitors question Trek’s claims about its new bike helmet tech

Trek's new WaveCel helmet technology is being called into question by competitors MIPS and Koroyd, neither of which have been able to verify the claims of vastly improved safety results that trek claims.
Emerging Tech

Chinese doctors use 5G to perform surgery from hundreds of miles away

The surgeon behind your future life-saving surgery might not have to be in the same room as you. Heck, thanks to the burgeoning 5G revolution, they might not have to be in the same state.
Wearables

The ultimate golf watch isn’t a smartwatch. It’s Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Golf

Forget golf smartwatches, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf is the ultimate timepiece to wear out on the links. It's the world's first mechanical golf watch, and will keep score for you throughout the game.
Health & Fitness

Latest version of Closca’s collapsible bike helmet is made for urban explorers

Closca has updated its bike helmet with a new lightweight, collapsible design that is available in a variety of color combinations and has been built with the urban rider specifically in mind.
Health & Fitness

From the office to the gym, these are the best smartwatches for fitness

The line between smartwatch and fitness tracker continues to blur. To help narrow the field of the best fitness watches, we sifted through what's available and curated a list of devices worthy of a spot on your wrist.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Halfbikes, VR for all your senses, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Deals

The best sound machines to help you fall (and stay) asleep

Whether you find that sleep better with white noise, rain sounds, or deep sleep music, there’s a sound machine on the market that will be able to help you catch more z’s in no time at all.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Emerging Tech

Scientists manage to 3D print an actual heart using human cells

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have achieved a world-first by 3D printing a small-scale heart, complete with blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers. Here's why that's so exciting.
Deals

Dreaming of a Peloton? These exercise bikes are just as good (and cheaper, too)

Modern technology certainly helps us stay fit and healthy. Whether it's fitness watches, or interactive treadmills, there are plenty of options out there. But perhaps the most popular name right now in fitness tech is Peloton.