Google Health


Google Health

Google Health is a personal health information centralization service by Google. The service allows Google users to volunteer their health records -- either manually or by logging into their accounts at partnered health services providers -- into the Google Health system, thereby merging potentially separate health records into one centralized Google Health profile.

Volunteered information can include "health conditions, medications, allergies, and lab results".cite web|url=https://www.google.com/health/html/about/index.html|title=Google Health: About Google Health|accessdate=2008-05-20] Once entered, Google Health uses the information to provide the user with a merged health record, information on conditions, and possible interactions between drugs, conditions, and allergies.cite web|url=https://www.google.com/health/html/tour/|title=Google Health: Take a Tour|accessdate=2008-05-20]

Privacy concerns

Google Health is an opt-in service, meaning it can only access medical information "volunteered" by individuals. It does not retrieve any part of a person's medical records without his or her explicit consent and action. However, it does encourage users to set up profiles for other individuals.

According to its Terms of Service, Google Health is not considered a "covered entity" under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996; thus, HIPAA privacy laws do not apply to it.cite web|url=https://www.google.com/health/html/terms.html|title=Google Health: Terms of Service|accessdate=2008-05-20] .

In an article covering Google Health's launch, the New York Times discussed privacy issues and said that "patients apparently did not shun the Google health records because of qualms that their personal health information might not be secure if held by a large technology company."cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/20/technology/20google.html|title=New York Times: Google Offers Personal Health Records on the Web|accessdate=2008-05-20] Others contend that Google Health may be more private than the current "paper" health record system because of reduced human interaction.cite web|url=http://humani.st/google-health-can-fix-us-healthcare/|title=Humanist → Google Health Can Fix U.S. Healthcare|accessdate=2008-05-27]

Post-launch reactions to Google's stance that it is not a covered entity have varied. Some have been very negative, like the comments of ha.ckers.org blogger Robert "RSnake" Hansencite web|url=http://ha.ckers.org/blog/20080521/google-health/|title=ha.ckers.org web application security lab - Archive » Google Health|accessdate=2008-07-10] and those of Nathan McFeters at ZDNetcite web|url=http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=1166|title=RSnake picks on Google Health… yes, Google wants your medical records, too! | Zero Day | ZDNet.com|accessdate=2008-07-10] . Others, including Free/Open Source Software Healthcare activist Fred Trotter, argue that a personal health record service like Google Health would be impossible if it were HIPAA covered.cite web|url=http://www.fredtrotter.com/2008/05/23/in-all-fairness/|title=In all Fairness | Fred Trotter|accessdate=2008-07-10]

Price and income

Google Health, like many other Google products, is free to use for consumers. Unlike other Google services, however, Health currently contains no advertising.cite web|url=https://www.google.com/health/html/faq.html|title=Google Health: Frequently Asked Questions|accessdate=2008-05-20] Google has not revealed how it plans to make money with the service, but a Wall Street Journal article says that Google "hasn't ruled [advertising] out for the future."cite web|url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121123806355705263.html|title=Wall Street Journal: Google Helps Organize Medical Records|accessdate=2008-05-20]

History

Google Health has been under development since mid-2006. In 2008, the service underwent a two-month pilot test with 1,600 patients of The Cleveland Clinic.

As of May 20, 2008, Google Health has been released to the general public as a service in beta test stage.

Architecture

Google Health's API is based on a subset of the Continuity of Care Record.cite web|url=http://code.google.com/apis/health/ccrg_reference.html|title=Google Health Data API: CCR Reference|accessdate=2008-07-11]

Partners

Google Health can currently import medical and/or drug prescription information from the following partners: The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, The Cleveland Clinic, Longs Drugs, Medco Health Solutions, Quest Diagnostics, RxAmerica, Walgreens, SafeMed, and Healthgrades.cite web|url=https://www.google.com/health/html/about/profiles.html|title=Google Health: Partner Profiles|accessdate=2008-05-20] .

Users whose health records reside with other providers may either manually enter his or her data or pay to have a Google Health partner perform the service. "MediConnect Global" [https://www.google.com/health/directory?url=gh.mediconnect.net] is one such partner; for a fee, they will gather a user's medical records from around the world and add them to his or her profile.

Competitors

Google Health is a personal health record (PHR) service whose primary competitors in the United States are Microsoft's HealthVault and the open-source Indivo project. There are numerous other open-source and proprietary PHR systems, including those that compete outside the United States.Fact|date=July 2008

References

External links

* [http://www.google.com/health Google Health]


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