Monthly Archives: June 2009

Opening My HealthVault

Given my passion for Health Care IT, it is only natural that I give Microsoft HealthVault a try. I have already downloaded the SDK and am waiting for our product rolls at work to be done to start playing with the SDK and creating my own application.

I plan to chronicle my experience using HealthVault here. And after I have explored it, I’ll move to Google Health and contrast my experiences with that application.

The first thing you do to get into your HealthVault is to navigate to the HealthVault website.

The home page for HealthVault looks like a typical marketing web page. The design is simple, clean, and unobtrusive. I like it. The sign-in option is at the top left corner, but in my opinion should be a bigger font. Very easy to miss and it’s blue on very light blue. Make it a little more prominent, and it will be easy to find. Click it and you are taken to the login screen.

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You are presented with couple of options. You can enter your email address or sign in using OpenID. Ah! This is great. I have setup my open id with myopenid.com and I have set it up so that every time I logon using my open id, I get a call on my cell phone from myopenid.com verifying that I indeed did try authenticating on some website. This is great and especially important on a cloud application that promises to hold all kinds of health information imported from all providers. So I click on the OpenID link, enter my open id. In the screenshot below, I have xxed out my open id, but here is what I get when trying to use open ID

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Communications problem! What? I can’t sign in using my open ID? What kind of communications problem are we talking about here? And this has been going on for quite sometime. I have been trying to login using my openID since I created my account. Yes, I know HealthVault still sports the BETA tag, but implementing an openID authentication scheme should not be that hard. stackoverflow.com does it. Not impressed, yet.

However what impressed me is the responsiveness of the HealthVault team. I tweeted my issue and a few hours later, @HealthVault responded to my tweet and I got an email from a HealthVault team member requesting additional repro information and an assurance that the team will look into it. Great job folks!

Update: I figured out the bug. Here is what is happening. If you type in https://name.myopenid.com and click Sign In, you will redirected to the openID provider’s (myOpenId.com) site where you can authenticate. However, if you type in https://firstname.lastname.myopenid.com, you will receive the error shown in the screen shot above. My guess is, https://firstname.lastname.myopenid.com is being parsed and the extracted provider ID is lastname.myopenid.com and not myopenid.com and therefore results in a communication error because there no provider called lastname.myopenid.com. A simple parsing bug. Hope the HealthVault folks can fix it soon.

So the only alternative, at least for me, is to use Windows Live ID. My issue was, I had a weak password for my Windows Live account because I use it only to view MSDN Live meeting screen casts. The first order of business was to strengthen my Windows Live ID password. Once you successfully login, your home page will look like so

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There a host of tasks that can be completed. I’ll delve into each of the available tabs in future posts and also share my opinion. HealthVault is being billed as a consumer focused and consumer centric application. Let’s see if it truly holds up to the promise. Stay tuned.

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HiMSS Virtual Conference 2009 Day 1

Thanks to Cesar Torres (@HIMSS), I got a VIP invitation to the HiMSS Virtual Conference and Expo. If I were to use one word to describe the experience, it would be – AWESOME.

I have been to many conferences, mainly hosted by Microsoft, but this is my first time attending a Virtual Conference. And it was completely beyond expectations. This is what the main screen looks like. You can mouse over various venues and click to enter, say the Exhibit Hall, which hosted a few familiar and a few not so familiar vendors.

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Although I did not get a chance to attend any live presentation during the day because of work, I did “wander” around a few vendor booths and register for giveaways. These vendor booths are just like the physical booths at real conferences. You have the vendor staff on hand to answer any questions, you can browse the available literature, or participate in an open chat. Just like in the physical world, when you “walk-up-to” a booth someone will greet you. I was surprised not to see Microsoft or Google. Both are trying to market their consumer Health Records Management systems. Microsoft, probably, is getting ready for the Connected Health Conference. Next year?

The navigation links at the top guide you to the various sections and you can wander around to check out the action. Another neat feature is the Tote Bag. This is a one-stop collection of all “conference goodies”, articles, information brochures, white papers, podcasts and a host of things. All these can be downloaded.

The lounge is an interesting place. You can strike up conversations via the chat and expand your network. You can look up who is online using the Who’s Here link. Click on a name and you can drill down into additional information. Cool feature – Send VCard.

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Overall, I am very impressed by the sophistication of the event. I wish there were more vendors. Can’t wait for day 2. I hope I can find some time to attend a few live sessions I am interested in.