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.

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