Google Health Announced – Kind of

Posted on February 28, 2008 I Written By

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Well, my prediction that Eric Schmidt would announce Google Health at the HIMSS08 conference were pretty close. From what I’ve read so far, that’s all he really talked about. I’m still waiting to see my contact that was able to attend HIMSS to see his thoughts on what was said. Sounds like he mostly reiterated what we already knew. A few interesting points:

-Google Health will not contain ads (although I bet that won’t stop them from using the information to target the ads it shows you other places)
-Eric Schmidt repeatedly said no data would be shared without the consumer’s consent (unless of course some hacker finds a way around Google’s security measures)
-1,370 volunteers at the Cleveland Clinic are beta testing the application
-Portability is the key (we heard that this was a form of CCR, but if it requires consent are people going to go to the effort to make it portable?)

Despite certain privacy questions and fears around Google Health I think that Eric Schmidt made a very good point about the way Google will protect your information from legal cases when he said:

“In the Google implementation, your personal health information will not be given to anyone without their explicit permission, which is not true completely for HIPAA-compliant systems. If we get a subpoena, we always check our judgment as to whether the subpoena is narrow enough. If we think it’s a fishing expedition, we will fight it in court. That has worked well for us so far.”

The battle of PHRs by Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault have begun. While I love to see the big players participating in healthcare, I’m not sure they’ve figured out the right motivational drivers that will make this a smashing success. It wouldn’t surprise me if in a few years we hear stories about a life being saved because of proper information and how even one saved life is worth it.

The biggest disappointment: No announcement about when we can get in and try it out ourselves.

UPDATE: Techcrunch think that whoever cracks the healthcare nut will have a huge new market. I don’t see it ever cracking. Marissa Mayer talks about Google Health on the Official Google Blog.