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In a big nod to Microsoft HealthVault, the software behemoth’s independent, online personal health record (PHR), Kaiser is rolling out a pilot of the HealthVault system by allowing its 159,000 employees to trial the online PHR.  Employees will be given the option of transferring data between Kaiser’s online PHR and HealthVault.  A successful pilot may mean a roll out to Kaiser members, a member base of 8.7 million insured.

This leap of faith between Kaiser and Microsoft’s HealthVault marks an important acknowledgement of the value of an independent PHR to insurers, providers and patients.  This article from the Mercury News explains.

Launched by Microsoft in October, HealthVault is designed to give people a place to store all of their health information, from prescriptions to X-rays and lab reports. While insurers such as Kaiser, Aetna and WellPoint offer their members access to online databases, HealthVault provides people a way to pull that data together on an independent site.

“Without an independent third party, health records are not portable; they are not owned by the consumers,” Doty said.