Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Google Health.COM

Today there was an announcement about the launch of Google Health care. NyTimes Google Healthcare article. I am really excited about about the direction of the IT industry into the healthcare space. From what I can tell, this is one of the most innovative approaches to moving into this space, and could better enable healthcare management into the hands of the consumer in a way that will empower the patient. I obviously need to look further into what they offer and how they structure their legal agreement, in addition to patient privacy issues.

This type of service offering has enormous potential and potentially enormous pitfalls in relation to patient privacy and targeted consumer pharmaceuticals advertisements. See this article about the business skeptics: Google Faces Skeptics on Opening Day.

Personally, I have been a big proponent of moving the healthcare industry into the electronic space. I come from the information industry, and based on my personal experiences am really keen where this will all go.

Coming from the patient care and healthcare management perspective I really want to see something change especially for patients that have complicated healthcare issues, such as myself.

Although I love technology, I have found that when I go to doctors that have adopted healthcare IT solutions, that there is something missing in the doctor patient experience, especially when they are looking, typing, or dictating notes into the computer with their back to me. Here are some issues raised by Dr. Jerome Groopman in the following article: Do Electronic Records Impede Care. In addition read the following article from Australian news: For medical history, read hit and mystery

I foresee that the healthcare industry can only benefit from electronic record management, undoubtedly there are many powerful benefits of technology in the healthcare space, if used judiciously. Imagine emailing your doctors questions, getting a tailored Physical Therapy protocol through the internet, among other things. The flip side of the coin is that without interoperability standards will make this whole thing useless. If one system cannot read the information from another system there is no point in capturing the data if it cannot be shared. That is a common problem with technology, the ability to share information.....with other systems.

No matter what, we are moving into the technology age for healthcare. Google is making a valiant first stab at the problem. Here is a link to Google's explanation of what they are doing: Google Health, a first look I am going to review further what their service offers. The first thing that comes to my mind about how they have chosen their adisory board is that there are no patients, only doctors and healthcare admins. The exchange of information should not preclude the importance of patient input. If I had a voice, I would encourage the Google team to include a pure play patient, as opposed to a committee that is healthcare industry based. Here is the link to their healthcare advisory board: Google Healthcare Advisory Board

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