More on Google Health

In researching a feature I’ve been writing about Health 2.0 (more on that next week when it gets published), I’ve been looking into Google Health. While most commentators have focused on the commercial/social/medico-legal aspects of the world’s largest Internet company entering into the murky world of personal health records (PHRs), I came across some technical evaluations of the service. David Kibbe, writing in the Health 2.0 blog, discusses what sets Google Health apart from other online PHR services.

He writes: “Google Health beta makes it possible for machines to accept, read, and interpret one’s health data.  It is one thing to store health data on the Web as a pdf or Word text file, for example one’s immunizations or lab results, where they can be viewed. It is a giant leap forward to make the data both human and machine readable, so that they can be acted upon in some intelligent way by a remote server, kept up-to-date, and improved upon in terms of accuracy and relevance. That is what …Google Health beta achieves for the consumer that is really new and different; this is what HealthVault [Microsoft’s PHR offering] and Dossia [a service set up by five big employer groups in the US including Wal-Mart and AT&T] are to date missing.

“Disruptive innovations are often considered simplistic and compared to toys when they first emerge (remember the first Apple computer?) and there is no stopping these developers and these partner companies from making their services more intelligent, more useful, and more convenient to the consumer.”

Take the time to read through the comments on the posting, which are quite interesting. Here’s an example: “As it is, Google PHR is a non-starter for any open-source advocate (“rapid design evolution” [which seems like marketing 2.0 speak] notwithstanding). Patients want options, not “disruptive” technologies. Again, more marketing-speak and hype. Sorry, but most real patients are a little wiser than that.”