ClinicSpeak: eHealth MS portal using Microsoft HealthVault

Time to relaunch an old initiative: an eMedicine portal to help you self-manage MS using HealthVault. #ClinicSpeak #MSBlog #MSResearch

“The article below presents compelling data that telemedicine is feasible and doable in the MS space. More importantly the pilot study shows that telecare is a useful tool for monitoring MSers at home, and has the potential to improve health care while reducing costs, and could be extended to  the management of other chronic neurological diseases.”

“Recently at the ENS-EFNS meeting in Istanbul I gave a talk on eHealth. I was invited to speak due to my involvement in social media. I gave the talk below which is essentially an adaptation of my scocial media talk. However, preparing and delivering the talk made me ruminate and play around with an idea that I have had for several years to create an eMedicine portal to help MSers self-manage their disease with intermittent and targeted help from their MS team. When I costed the IT development cost it was prohibitive, not to mention the medico-legal issues regarding confidentiality, privacy, etc. This has all changed for me with Microsoft’s launch of HealthVault. “

“HealthVault is a cloud-based service where you store and log all your healthcare information and link it to compatible healthcare devices. HealthVault allows you to upload results of investigations, including MRI scans and other imaging files. You can then securely share your HealthVault or limited sections of your HealthVault with your neurologist or MS nurse so that they can make comments or give advice.  Microsoft HealthVault also has the ability to interface with Healthcare Apps so that data from the Apps are automatically uploaded into your vault. 

As we are continuously getting requests for opinions from MSers from all over the world; including parts of the world with poor access to MS expertise. Due to privacy and medico-legal issues we can’t respond by using regular emails and it is difficult to review investigations and MRI scans via email. Hence my colleagues and I want to test Microsoft HealthVault as a portal for eMedicine consultations. Why Microsoft HealthVault? Simple, it already exists, is controlled by you and it is free.  Microsoft HealthVault has also cleared all the necessary data protection and data encryption hurdles and it has even been given the green-light by the NHS and other healthcare providers.”

“We have been in discussion with a software developer to design a MS self-monitoring app that will interface with Microsoft HealthVault that will allow you to track your disease. Our interest in HealthVault is the ability to use it for research. Before writing a grant to get money to develop a HealthVault MS App we want to test out the feasibility of using HealthVault for eMedicine consultations, for monitoring MS, the user experience and the procedures require to make this work. To achieve this we are looking for a few volunteers to test the waters. I hope some of you will are interested?”

“Just to say thank you to those of you who kindly volunteered to participate in the pilot scheme. I have more than enough MSers to run the pilot with HealthVault.”

“Microsoft HealthVault has the potential to empower individual MSers and revolutionize personal healthcare. Microsoft are encouraging healthcare and software developers to develop Apps for HealthVault and as far as I am concerned the sky is the limit in terms of what can be achieved in the MS space. I think it is time to join the eMedicine revolution. Do you?”

Zissman et al. Telemedicine for multiple sclerosis patients: assessment using Health Value Compass. Mult Scler. 2012 Apr;18(4):472-80. doi: 10.1177/1352458511421918. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Background: Telemedicine carries the potential of improving accessibility to health services, especially for disabled people.

Objective: To assess the health-related outcomes of short-term implementation of telemedicine (telemed) for MSers.

Methods: A prospective study of 40 MSers divided into a control group and a telemed group was conducted, in two stages: A. Six months’ follow-up for measurement of baseline health-related variables; B. Implementation stage, adding home telecare to the telemed group. A Health Value Compass was applied to assess the outcomes of home telecare implementation. Clinical status, cost data, patients’ self-assessment of Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and satisfaction with telecare were studied.

Results: MSers in the telemed group demonstrated improved clinical outcome measured by symptoms severity. There was a decrease of at least 35% in the medical costs for 67% of the telemed group patients. Satisfaction with telecare was high and most MSers would recommend this service to others.

Conclusions: The present pilot study, applying Health Value Compass-based analysis, suggests that telecare is a powerful tool for monitoring MSers at home, carries the potential to improve health care while reducing costs, and should be considered for implementation as part of the management of chronic neurological diseases.

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.

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