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A lone Eric Schmidt describes Google Health to HIMSS attendees  (Source: DailyTech)

Google Health Screen Shot  (Source: Google)
Google Health not covered under HIPAA

Google offered a glimpse into a new product it has been working on called Google Health at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in Orlando, Florida. Google says Google Health is attempting to solve an urgent need of organizing patient information and making it accessible and useful.

Google Health will allow users to collect, store and manage their own medical information online. With the prolific availability of Internet enabled devices in our daily lives and more and more physicians’ offices and health care systems adopting technology like tablet PCs to make record retrieval easier and faster, Google Health offers an interesting way for patient to provide healthcare professionals access to medical information.

Google says what sets is service apart from the other online personal health records is privacy, security and streamlined support.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt claims the company is working with third-party services to be able to import doctor’s records, prescription history and test results directly into Google Health. If Google can pull that off with enough support form pharmacies, doctor’s offices and laboratories waiting for paper results of tests and records will be a thing of the past.

Privacy is certainly the biggest concern for people who put their medical information online. Google told InformationWeek that it wasn’t covered by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

HIPAA sets some stiff penalties for medical institutions that misuse or mishandle medical information of patients. Google doesn’t have to abide by HIPAA standards with its Google Health service, but Schmidt emphasizes many of the things it is doing for privacy and security of health information stored in its Google Health program are better than what HIPAA requires covered entities to abide by.

Google hasn’t offered an official launch date for the service and merely says that it looks forward to making Google Health available to users in the coming months.

DailyTech's Noreen Butte asked Schmidt if the company has any plans to monetize on the new program. "Not in the short term," Schmidt replied.

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By Chudilo on 2/29/2008 2:09:20 PM , Rating: 5
I actually work in the Health IT industry.
First off ALL of the aspects have to be as good as or better then HIPAA standards or it will be worthless.

The biggest problem with implementing something like this is that most doctors are not willing to share the information for a number of reasons.
1. Many are just used to doing everything on paper.
2. They are subject matter experts and do not want to share what they do with other doctors. In other words even people that generate this information are not willing to share with other people.
3. This will easily point out weaknesses in doctor treatment. for example if a certain doctor keeps prescribing the wrong this or keeps misdiagnosing it will be visible clearly. It's good for patients but doctors will not be willing to participate.
4. Doctors will have to spend their own money to import their records in there.
5. They have to change the whole practice around to use this.
There are thousands of reasons.
Something like this has to come from the government as a regulation type of a thing.

By brianmack on 2/29/2008 2:21:42 PM , Rating: 3
I too work in Health IT. In reference to #4, there are very few doctors I know that will spend their own money to eat lunch, let alone implement a system like this. Add in the wide gulf of technology expertise relative to the average DT reader and you have a recipe for disaster.

By SectionEight on 2/29/2008 2:23:21 PM , Rating: 2
Something like this has to come from the government as a regulation type of a thing.

I'm generally the last person who wants more government regulation, but having worked on the service-side of health-care, I would agree. First thing should be a central prescription server for all prescriptions. Taking the prescription out of the patient's hand minimizes the chance for forgery, plus you can identify abusers who see multiple doctors for pain meds and get multiple prescriptions filled at different pharmacies.

By dever on 2/29/2008 2:59:41 PM , Rating: 2
IxNay on the regulation. Give the market a chance to introduce a few solutions before completely stifling this intriguing possibility through regulation.

And, give the consumer the freedom to choose who can see their info and when. I'm not sure of the details, but it would be nice to allow the consumer to say to the health care provider... I allow you to submit info from this visit on my Google account... I allow you to see x, y, and z from my Google account.

Instead of doctor's relying on patient's memory, they can see a document that's been digitally signed by someone as historical. The access could be much faster than current methods of ordering records. Just a thought.

By derwin on 3/1/2008 6:06:09 PM , Rating: 2
I am usually not a Smithian when it comes to economy v gov, but this is one instance where I believe the endeavor is just too large for a beurocratic governemnt to tackle.

So, in short, I agree with you here.

By nbachman on 2/29/2008 2:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
I work in the Healthcare IT buisness as well and there is one thing that is certain. Trying to get a provider to change the way they do things is next to impossible.

Google Health would have to be able to adapt to fill the needs of individual practices and hospitals. I doubt Google has the foresight or commitment to make this succesful.

By eye smite on 2/29/2008 2:29:45 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, lot of naysayers on this one. I'll keep my 2 cents out and just watch. You all would know better than I anyway. :-)

One of the ironies about modern medicine...
By JasonMick on 2/29/2008 1:17:18 PM , Rating: 3
Is that some of the greatest improvements in it over the last 10-20 yrs. haven't been drugs, but rather technologies, such as this that help provide more reliable access to patient information and more consistency. There are still a lot of mistakes due to misinformation, but the quality and safety of health care in the U.S. has risen dramatically thanks to more careful regulation of recording keep, better logisitics, and new policies.

By othercents on 2/29/2008 1:41:42 PM , Rating: 1
And People are still dieing at an alarming rate, but now we know why. However we can't share that with you.


RE: One of the ironies about modern medicine...
By eye smite on 2/29/2008 2:39:24 PM , Rating: 3
I can't necessarily agree with your statement. There's been medicine advancements, I'm just not sure I would call them terribly worth while. How many Erectile Disfunction drugs have been made? Sleep aid, cholesterol and other such drugs? And wow, do you hear how they rattle off the possible side effects at the end of the commercials? Just a thought.

By nekobawt on 3/4/2008 2:19:36 PM , Rating: 2
"At the end"? You kidding me? Half of these commercials are more disclaimer than "This pill will change your life, so ask your doctor about it!"

An uncessary product
By 325hhee on 2/29/2008 1:42:58 PM , Rating: 1
I can see it now, some third world country getting their hands on this info and sending you spam mail to buy viagra, or some shady meds.

I'm sure someone out there is already looking to try to hack into this info for malicious purposes. What next, post your spending habits?

If people with medical issues have doctors, they're the only ones that need that info, and if they need to send your records to another doctor, they can email it. There's no need for this service.

RE: An uncessary product
By brianmack on 2/29/2008 2:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
Unless the information is encrypted, they can't "just use e-mail". HIPAA violation.

RE: An uncessary product
By nutz4cycling on 2/29/2008 9:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's kinda scary how many people think that email is secure.

RE: An uncessary product
By Suomynona on 3/1/08, Rating: -1
RE: An uncessary product
By NARC4457 on 3/3/2008 1:50:54 PM , Rating: 1
I wish you weren't already at -1 so I could add another nagative to you.

Sounds good but is it really bad?
By Mitch101 on 2/29/2008 5:33:09 PM , Rating: 3
This sounds like a good neat idea and if it could be used for the greater good like it intends to do then its awesome. However I see this as a tool the insurance companies will get their hands into and hurt people for their own profit potential.

The problem is some of the health Insurance agencies are scum and are turning to looking into every nook and crannies in peoples lives so they can deny medical coverage, surgeries, and proper medication. If they get the slightest inclination you experienced any symptom of having the issue possibly before you became insured by them or it may be related to something prior in your life they are looking to deny you proper medical attention. Its a business and profits are what they are after. They don't really care about any of us when it comes to our health.

I'm not advocating Michael Moore paranoia but recently a buddy of mine was diagnosed with having Diabetes and is having a hell of a time with medical coverage. I wouldn't be surprised if they tie this to his kids someday and deny them since you generally have to give social information to the insurance companies on your kids. The kids when nearing his age will get some sort of canceled insurance coverage because they know at age 40 their father was diagnosed with diabetes and they assume the kids will develop this too around his age.

I almost have to believe if were going to be a nation that really cares about the greater good of humanity we need to find a way to ensure health insurance companies are doing what is morally right not what is financially good for the bottom line.

Maybe we need to have a government run health care system like other countries.

We have people from Canada and the EU here really how is life in a government run health care system? Does it work?

Google Health
By Say No on 3/1/2008 2:36:17 PM , Rating: 3
I have two angles on this story:

1) SELL, SELL, SELL GOOG - This article makes it absolutely clear that Google is totally and completely clueless about healthcare. As someone with decades of experience in both healthcare finance and IT, I can conclusively say that Google is wildly over its head in this endeavor. Because healthcare is such a huge part of the US economy, tech companies spring up and DIE virtually overnight with harebrained ideas about revolutionizing the healthcare system. Google is no different than the many that have come before it, and from my experience, its fate will be no different. Every single healthcare provider and hospital in this country is a completely different species, with its own unique DNA. There are hundreds of different physician practice management systems in the market and a large hospital may use as many as 30 different in house systems, many of which are homegrown. There is absolutely no standardization of healthcare systems in this country and Google will have to spend a fortune trying to capture just a fraction of this data it would need to make this endeavor successful. Moreover, they would get zero assistance from most physicians who just don't have the resources.

2) What's in it for Google? Looking at the Google Health screen shot, it becomes completely obvious what Google's real goal here is - Data Mining. Mining the health care records of millions upon millions of Americans and combining that data with its own data and the data it will acquire from its DoubleClick acquisition so GOOG can sell it off to marketers and anyone else willing to pay for it. Do no evil! - my ass. With this much personal data in Google's hands, they truly will achieve the status of Big Brother.

If I found out my doctor was participating with Google Health, I would dump him faster than an irregular heart beat.

hmmm.. privacy a problem, yes
By JoshuaBuss on 2/29/2008 1:19:00 PM , Rating: 2
while i might find a service like this useful for my own information, i have nothing to hide..

i could certain imagine this being a serious problem for anyone who takes their health information privacy seriously..

By Lastfreethinker on 2/29/2008 2:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
They actually understand the difference between sex and gender, way to go google!

By montgom on 3/1/2008 10:35:48 AM , Rating: 2
I work in Healthcare (as a provider) as well and there is one thing that is certain. Trying to get a Healthcare IT business to change the way they do things is next to impossible. Have you ever gone from one hospital or from one business to another and found anyone in IT that does it one way? The only thing that IT shares from one place to another is not answer the phone when you call for help :-). Or make you wait weeks to get a problem fixed.

Physician Perspective
By jimzak on 3/2/2008 8:51:24 AM , Rating: 2
Physician's are information gatherers.

If my patient had a nice database of their medical information that I could review, this would help me to take care of them.

I doubt I would be able to directly import their info into my NextGen electronic medical record, but just having the data in one place would be helpful.

When I go to see a new physician, I carry a Word document with me which includes all the Google stuff. My physicians seem to appreciate this compiled information.

I am a primary care physician in Austin, Texas.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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