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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. :-)

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