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.

image  

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

image

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

image

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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About Ramesh Sringeri

Yet another chaos monkey. View all posts by Ramesh Sringeri

3 responses to “Opening My HealthVault

  • Sean Nolan

    Hi Ramesh, here is what I got back from our OpenID program manager about your issue:

    It’s possible that this user has a “.” character in their open ID. Myopenid.com released a fix for this so that all users with a “.” can use a “-” in place of it and no longer allows creation of IDs with a “.”. The problem with the “.” character is that it results in a URL that is not valid against their SSL certificate and thus certification validation fails.

    The reason this shows up with HV and not other sites is that we require the https connection to the openid servers where many/most others do not.

    Can you please try this replacing the “.” with an “-“, as in: https://firstname-lastname.myopenid.com and let us know if it works?

    Thanks …
    —S

  • Ramesh Sringeri

    Sean, Thank you for taking time to review the issue and provide feedback. Yes I have tested by replacing the . in my name with a – and I am able to authenticate with HealthVault via myOpenId.com. Thanks for all the support extended and keep up the good work.

  • CheyenneJack

    Great article and black box guess debugging. My favorite part is that you have myopenid call you every time you log in. That’s an awesome feature and I definitely need to set that up.

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