Google Health Watch | Tech Medicine

Google Health Watch

For those of you following Google's entrance into the business of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), here's a roundup of recent developments and insights.

Marissa Mayer, the VP at Google in charge of the project, discussed Google Health on the Official Google Blog and provided screenshots:
Google Health aims to solve an urgent need that dovetails with our overall mission of organizing patient information and making it accessible and useful. Through our health offering, our users will be empowered to collect, store, and manage their own medical records online.
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, gave the keynote at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Annual Conference.


Matthew Holt of The Health Care Blog analyzed the concern that EHRs like Google Health aren't covered by the HIPAA privacy law, and decided that the benefits of EHRs outweigh the privacy risks.

The AMA provided its take on Google Health. (Registration required.)

The New York Times Bits Blog claimed that "the company’s new medical records system is largely about advertising, especially ads by drug companies."
A Google spokesman said, however, that the company may well put ads on future versions of the service. But it doesn’t even need to. Presumably parts of Google Health, like most everything Google does, will have a box that can be used to begin a Web search. The search results pages, of course, will have Google’s standard ads.

What won’t be standard, most likely, is the revenue that comes from those ads. Health is among the most lucrative categories of advertising, in part because there is no better way for drug companies to reach prospects than when they are searching for or reading about certain conditions.
And Graham Walker at over!my!med!body! pointed out the problems with the fundamental PHR idea that patients should control the content of their own medical records.

Have an interesting link about Google Health? Email me at

(Also posted on The Efficient MD.)
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Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.