I’ve been experimenting with creating personal health records (PHRs) for my wife and me using Microsoft’s HealthVault as the primary cloud data store and PassportMD as an alternative UI. I established an account for both of us about two weeks ago and made some initial entries. My interest in this topic stems from my belief that PHRs will become one of the largest single consumer markets for public cloud-based Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastrucure as a Service (IaaS) providers.
Update 10/28/2009: Sync operations with Microsoft HealthVault no longer fail with the error message below. Performance is a bit speedier. Microsoft’s Sean Nolan says PassportMD’s problem was fixed on 10/26/2009.
Update 10/11/2009 12:10 AM PT: My initial attempts to log in with secure HTTP (HTTPS) to my PassportMD account today (10/11/2009) encountered a certificate error with an expired (on 9/6/2009) Thawte Server Certificate. However, a HealthVault representative requested me to retry signing on. After a substantial delay, the login no longer shows a certificate error. Passport’s new Thawte certificate is dated 10/8/2009, a month after their original certificate expired.
However, attempts from the PassportMD HealthVault page to synchronize data from HealthVault:
fail with the following message:
Update 10/11/2009 ~ 10:00 AM PT: PassportMD’s server certificate expired more than a month ago and hasn’t been renewed, but I’m no longer receiving the SOAP-ERROR messages during log-in, which is much slower than earlier trials.
Despite the earlier “they are definitely alive” message and a note today that “they had acquired the new cert” from a HealthVault (Microsoft) representative, I believe PassportMD has joined the deadpool.
Update 9/28/2009: A check of PassportMD’s site indicates that their Thawte Server Certificate hasn’t been renewed or replaced more than 20 days after it expired.
Update 9/20/2009: A HealthVault representative advised me today that “they are definitely alive.” If so, it would behoove them to renew their server certificate. Go Daddy offers standard server certificates for $29.99 per year.
Update 9/19/2009: I haven’t received a callback (or any other communication) from PassportMD and am still receiving SOAP-ERROR messages during sign-in.
My assumption is that the firm is in the deadpool.
Here’s the warning message:
and timed out with the following SOAP error:
Caught exception: SOAP-ERROR: Parsing WSDL: Couldn't load from 'https://services.passportmd.com/HVService/HVService.asmx?wsdl'
As shown here (click for full-size image):
This appears (from its name) to be a service request that requires a connection to Microsoft’s HeathVault service, with which PassportMD synchronizes its services. The failure probably is due to PassportMD’s expired certificate. Calls to “Need Help” or “Chat with an operator” at 1.888.902.0808 during stated office hours went to a voice mailbox. I left a Tweet about the problem to @PassportMD (Steven Hacker, MD; CEO, Physician and Founder PassportMD) about a week ago, but received no response on Twitter. The last PassportMD Tweet was posted July 5, 2009.
We like PassportMD’s UI better than HealthVault’s and appreciated the capability to synchronize our PHRs with HealthVault as a backup. HealthVault also offers easy import of data from personal health monitoring devices, such as glucose and blood-pressure meters. I’m glad I synchronize every time I enter new data but I’m waiting for PassportMD to return my call before adding any more details through that service.
I’ll update this post if and when I hear from PassportMD. All in all, the experience was not very encouraging.
HealthTechnologyNews reported Minimal Use of $2.5M CMS PHR Program on 8/26/2009:
Medicare's $2.5 million pilot of Personal Health Records (PHR) has drawn so little use that the program may not be renewed according to a recent article in the Arizona Republic. The CMS regional administrator wouldn't give specific figures but did say that the percentage participation was lower than the 3-6% nationally that use some sort of health record.
The pilots in Arizona and Utah provide seniors with access to one of four PHRs from Google Health, HealthTrio, NoMoreClipboard.com and PassportMD. Medical histories can be stored. The PHRs come prepopulated with two years of Medicare claims information documenting recent history (e.g., visits, medications, procedures)
"Officials from Medicare and participating software vendors acknowledge that a small percentage of Arizona seniors have signed up for the $2.5 million health-records program launched in January, raising questions about whether the one-year experiment should continue next year. 'We'd like to see more involvement,' said David Sayen, regional administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that oversees the government insurance programs for seniors, the poor and disabled."
That’s not very encouraging either. However, I think people would be more interested if the PHRs were prepopulated with a longer claims history. You can download the last 15 months of your claims history from MyMedicare. My Electronic Health Record Data Required for Proposed ARRA “Meaningful Use” Standards post of 9/5/2009 has more detailed information on MediCare and PHRs.
Update 9/17/2009 3:30 PM PDT: But things are looking up for PHRs in general:
To amend the Public Health Service Act and titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to enhance the meaningful use of electronic health records by establishing guidelines for using such records in the form of Personal Health Record systems and requiring such use in such
form for purposes of Medicare and Medicaid EHR payment incentives.
Update 10/11/2009: Microsoft's Rx for health care article of 10/5/2009 in the Seattle Times reports that the MSFT Health Solutions Group has increased from 4 to 600 people.