Microsoft is “investigating opportunities” for introducing its personal health record platform in the NHS in England.

The company’s HealthVault technology has been cited by the Conservative Party as an alternative to what it sees as the “centralised database” of records which is being developed in the NHS.

You always have your sceptics but there are a lot of people positive about improving their own healthcare

Microsoft Health Solutions Group director for Europe and the Middle East Graham Harrop said use of the technology in the UK should at first be focused on helping people manage long term illness and look after their own wellbeing, for example by recording and monitoring exercise.

He told HSJ: “One of the critical areas [personal health records] will bring significant value to is long term condition management.”

Mr Harrop cited Microsoft’s work with the American Heart Foundation and said it could look to form similar partnerships in England.

“You could see people like NHS Direct having an interest, or pharmaceutical companies,” he said.

“We are certainly investigating what opportunities there are. We want to innovate. Our mandate is to do that.”

Mr Harrop acknowledged there may be concerns about data security if private companies were more involved in health records.

But he said Microsoft was experienced at working within security rules and standards in the public sector.

He said: “We make sure all data is secure and only controlled by the patient.

“You always have your sceptics but there are a lot of people positive about improving their own healthcare.”

Mr Harrop said Microsoft had noted the beginning of a move away from the national NHS IT programme over the past six months in the health service, following the Department of Health saying hospital trusts could develop their own alternative systems.