9 February 2009
Google and IBM have announced a partnership that will enable Google Health to connect to and stream from medical devices.
According to Forbes, “In demonstrations, IBM and Google fitted Wi-Fi radios to gadgets like heart rate monitors, blood pressure cuffs, scales and blood-sugar measurement meters, allowing the devices to communicate with a PC and feed real-time medical information directly into Google’s online records.
“Hooking up those devices to the Web, IBM argues, will offer a new immediacy and granularity of health monitoring. A user can remotely track the blood pressure readings or glucose levels of a diabetic parent living alone, or stream his or her medical information like weight or heart rate directly to a doctor or physical trainer.”
“….For IBM, the new Google Health functions are also a dress rehearsal for “smart” health care nationwide. The computing giant has been coaxing the health care industry for years to create a digitized and centrally stored database of patients’ records. That idea may finally be coming to fruition, as President Obama’s infrastructure stimulus package works its way through Congress, with $20 billion of the $819 billion fiscal injection aimed at building a new digitized health record system.”
Privacy concerns abound. As Forbes reports: “‘They give consumers the appearance of an effective way to keep their health information, but it’s also a digital gold mine for health marketing,’ says Jeff Chester, director of the Center for Digital Democracy, who points to Google’s sponsorship of the ePharma drug marketing conference taking place in Philadelphia next week. ‘It’s one thing to turn your search queries over to Google. This is like making them your next of kin,’ Chester says. ‘Why would you give an advertising company access to your moment-by-moment expression of health concerns and risks?’”
14 August 2008
Internet ad spending in the US is not growing as quickly as expected, although it’s still performing ahead of other advertising sectors. eMarketer plans to cut its growth forecast for 2008, currently 23%, by a few percentage points.
According to Bloomberg: “The New York-based research firm had predicted almost $26 billion in ad sales this year. (eMarketer analyst David) Hallerman said his estimate for 16% growth in 2009 is ‘also probably too high.”’
“‘Advertising is the canary in the coal mine in a weaker economy,’ Hallerman said. ‘All the bears aren’t out of the woods yet when it comes to the economy.’” [Hello, can we throw in any more analogies from the animal kingdom there? Did I hear someone say TV is the 900-pound gorilla of advertising? Are the vultures circling the industry? Is the future of advertising a bit of a dog's breakfast? But I digress...]
In a sure sign of the accuracy of eMarketer’s changed prediction, Google is reporting it won’t hit its original revenue targets…
23 June 2008
With all the discussion and developments going on in terms of electronic health records/personal health records online, someone has finally asked the question: is this what consumers want? Keith Schorsch wrote on the Health 2.0 blog the other day about “the elephant in the room: Do consumers really care about having online personal health records?”
He cited current evidence suggesting that less than 3% of health consumers maintain a personal health record online (presumably US figures – Australian figures would only be a fraction of that). While Google “trotted out some great enterprise partners” for its recent announcement about its trial of Google Health with the Cleveland Clinic, Schorsch pointed out that there were no consumer testimonials talking about how Google Health would change their lives for the better.
“I struggle to see how it’s creating value for the average health consumer,” he writes. “How much work is required by the user to create this asset? And how important is data portability to the consumer? We all remember the predictions of the paperless office. The ‘paperless record’ feels like this decade’s version of the paperless office.”
“Google Health fels like a good, incremental step toward putting more control in the hands of the health consumer,” Schorsch concludes, but “without a clearly delineated consumer benefit, this is a platform waiting for a killer app.”
19 June 2008
A study published in this month’s Australian Family Physician shows that more than half of Australian general practitioners use the Internet during a consultation, and Google is the most common website they visit, at a rate higher than the next five most popular websites combined.
More than half of all respondents (56%) – and every one of the doctors surveyed in the 20-30 age group – used the Internet during consultations. Looks like the millions spent by the government offering free broadband to GPs all around Australia has had some payoff, with 93% of respondents using broadband in their practice and only 3% on dial-up. Interestingly, only 63% of the GPs said they used email at work (though 92% used it at home) – more work to be done to move to email consultations (aside from reimbursement issues).
Ninety per cent used a clinical software package, with 98% of those using the package for prescribing, 85% to order tests and 64% to record progress notes.
The study was conducted by Edith Cowan University and was based on 1,186 surveys from the Osborne Division of General Practice in Perth.
20 May 2008
So now Google has entered the market for electronic health records, six months after Microsoft announced it was doing the same thing. Google has supposedly developed an impenetrably secure computer platform that would allow people to keep their medical records online, so that they can be shared by doctors other than your local GP (particularly useful if you end up in the emergency room out of hours).
Like most of these things, both Google Health and Microsoft’s Health Vault have only been launched in the US so far, although a Google Australia spokesperson told the Sydney Morning Herald today that while there was a strong recognition in Australia of the significant benefits to patients of this type of service, there was “no current timetable” on a rollout of the service for local users.
Message to Kevin Rudd and Nicola Roxon – take a look at both of these services; maybe money should be spent developing these universal tools, rather than the tens of millions of dollars that have been thrown at HealthConnect and the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), so far to no result.