If asked, most people can provide a pretty accurate overview of their financial situation within minutes. However, if asked for an overview of their health situation—such as their latest lab results, when they’re due for their next preventive check-up, etc.—it would take most of us days to pull that information together. That’s because our health data is usually scattered across various doctors’ offices, labs, pharmacies, insurance companies, and more.
And the trouble with not having a good sense of our health situation is that it often means we end up going to the doctor for symptoms or conditions that could have been prevented. Similar to managing our finances, if we stay on top of our health status, we’re better able to make positive behavior changes that can head off problems down the road.
That’s where Microsoft HealthVault can help. HealthVault is a trusted place for people to gather, store, use, and share health information online—whether that information is collected at home, the doctor’s office, pharmacy, gym, or anywhere in between.
Here are four ways that I use HealthVault to better manage my own and my family’s health:
Tracking my health with my connected devices. I collect three important pieces of data about myself most days. I weigh myself on my Withings scale, I check my blood pressure on my Omron blood pressure monitor, and I use a Fitbit pedometer. All of these devices are connected to my HealthVault account so their readings are automatically captured and I can track my progress.
Sharing my health information with my healthcare team. My doctor can also see the data I’m collecting each day, and if my blood pressure readings become concerning, for example, he can suggest I come in. Or, if I want a second opinion on something, I can share my HealthVault information with a specialist so he or she can have a complete picture of my health.
Having an emergency profile. By taking a few minutes to answer some questions when I opened my HealthVault account, I set up an emergency profile for myself. I keep a printout in my wallet. It lists information such as my blood type and medication allergies, as well as contact information for my doctors and family. You hope you’re never in an emergency situation, but, in case you are, having this emergency profile on you can really help the first responders.
Helping my family members manage their health. My mom who lives more than 5000 miles away shares her HealthVault information with me, so I can keep track of her blood pressure readings on a regular basis. Or I can look at her lab results from a recent doctor visit, which helps me to be more informed about her situation and better able to help her manage her health and care decisions.
These are just a few examples of how powerful HealthVault can be. Why not kick-start your health in 2014 and open your own account in just a few minutes? Or learn about how HealthVault can benefit your health organization. And if you’re interested in connecting your app or device with the HealthVault platform, learn about becoming a solution provider.
Have a comment or opinion on this post or a question for the author? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know on Facebook here or via Twitter here.