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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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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.

"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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