Microsoft pulls HealthVault research project on all platforms

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Back in February 2017, Microsoft announced a HealthVault research project, along with a companion UWP application for all Windows 10 forms. I've dipped into it a few times and it's done a passable job of integrating fitness data from Windows-connected wearables with data from other devices on other platforms (e.g. Google Fit in my case). However, it always seemed like a prototype system with a prototype application - that was far too slow and klunky. Now, a year later, and across all platforms, Microsoft is calling 'time' on the project.

From my original story a year ago:

Windows 10 (including Mobile) gets a new HealthVault Insights application that acts on the phone to integrate fitness data from a Microsoft Band and/or from Google Fit, rolling it into summaries and recommendations, and with fields for health professionals to have input.

HealthVault InsightsHealthVault Insights

And from today's Microsoft post:

An update on HealthVault Insights

We launched HealthVault Insights as a research project last year, with the goal of helping patients generate new insights about their health. Since then, we've learned a lot about how machine learning can be used to increase patient engagement and are now applying that knowledge to other projects. As part of this progression, we've made the decision to remove HealthVault Insights from the iOS, Android and Windows stores effective later this month. This change will have no impact on the data users generated in HealthVault Insights, which will continue be accessible via the HealthVault website. Thank you for participating in our project. Please contact our support team if you have any questions.

Although I've naturally been interested in the personal fitness angle, HealthBault Insights was always about the wider picture. We've seen numerous initiatives from numerous companies attempting to integrate personal fitness data with medical facilities and records held by country-wide organisations - and they've all failed for much the same reason. That it's very, very hard to integrate such widely varied IT facilities. From person to GP to hospitals to national health service, and then scale that up across all people, all countries, is just about impossible. 

In fairness to Microsoft, it did always say that HealthVault Insights was a 'research project', so I don't think we should be too disappointed. Certainly the UWP application for Windows 10 was a non-starter and would have needed a major rewrite to have made any headway. I wonder whether the iOS and Android versions (also RIP) were any faster?

Source / Credit: Microsoft