Google releases Google Health

By ~lostgurl~ · May 20, 2008 · ·
  1. ~lostgurl~
    Google releases Google Health

    May 20, 2008 12:02 PM

    Google Inc unveiled Google Health, a long-anticipated US health information service that combines the leading web company's classic search services with a user's personal health records online.

    The password-protected service stores a user's basic medical history and gathers relevant information connected to their health conditions.

    Click here to go to Google Health

    One feature includes a link to help users find doctors by location or specialization. The "virtual pillbox" notifies patients when they need to take medications and warns of potential drug interactions.

    The service includes links to major US pharmacies, doctors' groups and medical testing labs.

    Partners include Walgreen Co, Longs Drugs Stores Corp, CVS Caremark Group, AllScripts, Quest Diagnostics and the Cleveland Clinic. The company had previously said it was working with health insurers such as Aetna Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Incpharmacies.

    Officials at the Mountain View, California-based company announced the long-anticipated service during a news conference to discuss developments in the company's core search business.

    "If anyone can demystify what health is, and make it fun ... Google can," Dr Michael Roizen, the chief wellness officer for the Cleveland Clinic, a major private US medical group, said during the news conference at Google headquarters.

    Patients would control access to their records, Google said.

    Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president for search services and user experience, said the company would store personal health information on computers that are separate from the company's other endeavours and had created an additional layer of security. "We certainly have put in place the foremost privacy policy that we could construct," Mayer said.

    The site would allow patients to schedule appointments, refill prescriptions, receive diagnostic results online, and instantly add their doctors' email addresses to a list of contacts.

    The electronic health records field remains in its early stages. For example, while medical providers are covered by US privacy laws, there is little in the way of established privacy, security and data usage standards for electronic personal health records despite decades of industry effort.

    Google's biggest rival, Microsoft Corp, has introduced HealthVault, which gives users control over who sees the information. Among start-ups active in the field is Revolution Health, a company backed by former AOL Chairman Steve Case.

    All are based on the notion that individuals should retain control over their data.

    But privacy concerns and other perceived risks of online health records will remain until consumers become familiar with their benefits, Andrew Rocklin, a principal in the healthcare practice of Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, said.

    When tied to exercise, dieting or other wellness programs, such records can give consumers extraordinary insights, he noted.

    Source: Reuters

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  1. Swimmortal
    Call me paranoid but this just looks like another breach on our privacy. I know one does not have to sign up but those who do can potentially be watched like hawks. I wouldn't recommend it for drug users.
  2. Panthers007
  3. Pondlife
    Note that Google's terms of service explicitly say that the HIPAA does not apply to Google Health. That in itself is worrying, because something like this needs regulation but it seems to be outside the current regulatory framework.
  4. fnord
    Im with nag/bongo on this one.

    Would google be held to the same standered of privacy that a doctor would?
  5. staples
    My girlfriend's step-brother's wife (step-sister-in-law?) is switching from another Google project to manage Google Health soon. I haven't got into it with her, mostly because I think I'd just end up arguing...

    But the more she talks about it, the more it sounds like it's just not for someone like me or most others on this forum who are interested in the technicalities of their medications and personal health. It sounds like it's just another thing for Google to pull in some (billion) dollars from pharmaceutical and related companies for subtle advertising. Then, of course, there's the privacy issue...

    If anyone has some questions they are dying for me to ask her (though she's not terribly involved just yet), they should post them within the next 12 hours or so...
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