Welcome to HIMSS

Well, here we are in Orlando and things are a-hoppin'. The sheer size of this conference is unbelievable to me -- the Microsoft booth is about as big as my house. It's a pretty surreal atmosphere as everybody tries to sell everything to everybody else. On the upside, I have gotten to visit EPCOT a couple of times which makes me very happy (check out my new retro hat pictured above). And tomorrow night a few of us are going back to have dinner at the German Pavilion, home of the famous hot dog salad.

Anyway, two things about the show so far. First, more momentum for HealthVault -- we announced the Be Well Fund and have already gotten a bunch of positive feedback. The deal here is that we're going to be making a number of grants to nonprofit or academic institutions that are innovating in consumer-focused healthcare using HealthVault. We're trying to look beyond traditional applications and get people to push the envelope on things like primary and secondary prevention programs and community-based or social care. Proposals are due by May 9 and we'll announce awards on July 1.

Between the features we keep rolling out (direct-to-clinical is getting huge interest on the floor; feels like this is a breakthrough in getting providers on board) and stuff like the Fund announcement -- we are steadily proving that we are really committed. The more partners see this, the more of them are coming on board. The flywheel is turning.

In other news -- the Google guys seem pretty nice. At least they didn't freak out when I came by to watch their demos and say congratulations on their pilot. Everybody wants to know what we think of their stuff (and I'm sure the opposite is true as well). Speaking just for me here, I think it looks pretty neat, and I am sure that having two of us in the picture now will increase the motivation for providers to start building connections -- which is a Really Good Thing.

It seems to me that our job over the next few months is to make it really easy for providers and other ecosystem players to connect with patients. That's why we took the huge step of announcing that we will release the HealthVault platform interfaces under the Open Specification Promise. As you can imagine, I would love for Google to adopt our interfaces so that partners can build connectivity once and know it will work in both environments. I'm not holding my breath on that one, but honestly I think it would be great for everyone.

Lots of hills still to climb, but at least now we have company along the way. Now, when will Dossia get on board? It's certainly easier to be welcoming when you know that what you're doing is going to help everybody win.

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