Competition Increases for Online Medical Records

Two tech giants are getting into the online medical records market. Google and Microsoft are offering services that will let users store medical information on a single centralized Web-based service.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

So this is not Black Monday - at least not yet - but it is Tech Monday.

We talk about technology at the beginning of each business week. And today two tech giants are getting into the online medical records market. Google and Microsoft have announced services that will let you store your medical information on a single, centralized, Web-based service.

Cyrus Farivar reports.

CYRUS FARIVAR: Every time you change doctors, it can be hard to bring your medical records along with you. That's why Microsoft started its new free service, HealthVault, which hopes to change all that. Users can upload lab results, fitness records, and hospitalization summaries to the site.

However, Liz Boehm, an analyst at Forrester Research, explains that the health care industry changes very slowly. So the announcements from Microsoft and Google won't make a difference right away.

Ms. LIZ BOEHM (Analyst, Forrester Research): Most consumers don't track their information electronically - their health care information. And even if they wanted to, their doctors and hospitals and other care providers don't have electronic copies of the information that they could input into these health records.

FARIVAR: Boehm notes it's a wide open market. Between 75 and 90 percent of doctors' records are still on paper. Earlier this year, ex-AOL CEO Steve Case launched Revolution Health. Part of that service is Web-based storage for medical records. Today, the only thing that's certain is that these big tech companies want their share of the $2 trillion health care industry.

For NPR News, I'm Cyrus Farivar.

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