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Google Targets - Personal Health Records

By: Steve Johnson

5/28/2005 - 48 Comments

Last week Google launched its long-awaited Google Health, a free online service that people can use to store and manage their personal health information.

Empowering Users

The primary concept is to empower users to make better usage of personal information.  Google has done this for millions of users with its search technology, so why not medical information as well.

Google Health aims to deliver online documentation to track your medical history, learn about your medical conditions and symptoms, and check possible prescription drug interactions. Best of all, you could import your medical records from participating doctors, hospitals, labs and pharmacies. Using Google Health allows you to organize and manage all your health information throughout your lifetime.

This is a powerful vision of a new kind of consumer – the health customer – empowered with information to make better educated medical purchasing decisions, who just might re-define the health care industry.

Competitors

Google is not the first to create an online solution for managing medical health records, but Google has obviously seen enough potential in the new market to invest their brand and technology. 

WebMd.com, defines their personal health record solution as:

“A personal health record permits you to securely gather. store, manage and share your own and your family's health information - when you want, where you want, and with whom you choose. And the WebMD Health Record is more than your personal health history. It's smart. It works within the WebMD Health Manager to provide you useful information and direct you to tools that you might find helpful.”

While promoting the following benefits:

  • To easily gather, store and manage lifelong personal health information
  • To share relevant information with authorized care providers
  • To maximize your health benefits

Trusting Google

The question is, “Can Google be trusted with personal health records?”  I think the answer is no, but no one else can be trusted either and there is no stopping the trend to move personal health records online.  Take your pick, Google or the government, its going to happen either way.  Given this choice I guess I choose Google.

Government Integration

If this product gains momentum in the coming years, it could put Google into a position where it has a role as a critical national service. Access to health records is sometime the difference between life and death.  As this service grows, the government could be forces into a relationship with Google.  Google could become more than just a company that the government could allow to follow the rules of capitalism. The importance of this service could put the government into a position of creating a long term support level relationship so that the company cannot fail. The government would also need to protect Google from its competitors, giving Google competitive advantages to protect the public from a reduction in service.

Global Health Care

As the world moves towards global health care over the next decade, the world could become globally dependant on this service. This is why an international company like Google is needs to build a solution for the industry.  After a few years of working the bugs out, Google is positioned to open the solution up to the entire world, adding many more health opportunities and partners around the world.

Article Reference: Global Health Care

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