Almost two years ago, Ryan wrote an article titled “Will Google Ever Release Google Health?” This was back on July 10th, 2006 when login screens for the service managed to surface and we learned what Google was working on. Google Health has been rumored and anticipated for so long, and after their pilot program (at the Cleveland Clinic) launched back in February this year, we knew it was only a matter of time before it became available to the public. That time is now, and Google Health is available to anybody over the age of 18, living in the United States, who can read English.

Those who want to use the service will use their Google username and password to login. Once you’re logged in, you’ll quickly see everything that you can do:

  1. Track your medical history and learn more about your conditions
  2. Import medical records from various hospitals, labs, and pharmacies that Google has partnered with so that you don’t have to manually enter everything in
  3. View your medical history
  4. Learn how some of your medications might interact
  5. Make your health information work for you (refill prescriptions online, ask for a second opinion, get personalized health information)
  6. Search for doctors and hospitals based on specialty or location

To sum-up the service, users will use it to collect, store, and manage medical records and health information all online. Google’s Marissa Mayer says, “in this day and age of information, isn’t it crazy that you don’t have a copy of your medical records under your control?” She went on to say, “You could use those records to develop a better understanding of your health and ultimately get better care. It’s your data about your own health; why shouldn’t you own and control it?”

Google Health.png

We’re sure everybody agrees with her in that people should have a copy of their medical records under their control. The problem that people are going to have in allowing Google to help them have control of their records though, is privacy. Proving that Google Health is secure and the contents of profiles will remain private is one obstacle that Google is facing. They clearly outline in their privacy policy how they will use your information, but still, some people will be skeptical and for good reason.

It must have taken Google some time to construct both their privacy policy, but also the “Google Health terms of service” to cover everything. Any time the health of someone is involved, it can result in law suits which means Google and their lawyers had to very carefully come up with their terms of service to include lines like “do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through Google Health. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.” If they didn’t include that, can you imagine how many people would have tried to sue to make an easy buck?

This is Google’s first step in Health and they say that there’s a lot left to do with many partnerships to make and lots of data to move. Using the service is very easy too, for example, when you go to enter in a medication, you just start typing it and a drop-down list appears. While the interface for Google Health may be user-friendly, the concept of storing pertinent medical information online may not be so “friendly.” It’ll be interesting to see how the public warms-up to this and if they feel confident enough in the service to use it regularly. I do have to say though, that this is one of Google’s services that the general public could really latch onto and use because it requires very little tech saviness, and most people do care about their health or have health concerns these days.

Checkout Google Health

Thanks for tip Trip and CoryC!

Source: Yahoo News