Greg Sterling is now at Google for the Google Factory tour and the news is already buzzing about the US launch of Google Health. Greg may swing by and postscript with some of the details he learned from Google’s presentation; until then, let me share with you screen captures of Google Health:
Postscript from Greg: There’s tremendous value in Google Health for consumers. I haven’t compared it to its various competitors, however. There is, in the beginning, some fairly heavy lifting involved in getting the personalized information and health records online, which includes registrations on multiple sites. Some consumers may be frustrated by this and it may initially dampen adoption somewhat, although there is a service that will retrieve paper health records and put them on a CD for users.
This is one of those situations where consumers have to actually use the system to recognize its true value. However, there’s also lots of valuable content on the site. That may acclimate consumers to Google Health and help feel comfortable using it in advance of uploading the full profiles and health records.
Immediately questions of privacy, trust, and security arise. Indeed, trust is a huge issue here. “Do you trust Google?” becomes a fundamental question. The company has said the records are safe and more secure than Google’s own search logs. Marissa Mayer yesterday also told me that the records could be completely erased if consumers wanted to do so.
I believe all the aspirations and company statements about Google seeking to help consumers control their health records and making healthcare more efficient. The potential issues with Google Health aren’t really about Google Health itself. They’re about the larger healthcare system in the US, which makes profitability the paramount consideration and quality patient care a distant second.
While I’m not holding my breath, I hope there will be reform in the US healthcare system over the next several years that will help enable people to use products like Google Health without fear or concern about whether the data could get out or who might try and use it against them.