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.