Google has partnered up with the Cleveland Clinic to enable some of its patients to store their medical history online. The pilot program is most likely a Google Health initiative. Google hinted at launching Google Health roughly 18 months ago. Through the program, Google wants to enable the free flow of medical records between medical institutions.
If you have ever been to multiple doctors, you know how long it can take for medical files to be sent from one doctor to another. Surprisingly enough, a very small percentage of health records are electronic. Most health records are hand-written and placed in vanilla envelopes. When a doctor requests a patient’s records, someone has to find the records, photocopy them, and send them out via snail mail or fax.
Google’s pilot program at the Cleveland Clinic will allow some of its patients to electronically share their medical records with ease. The patients will (supposedly) have control over who can see their records. The health records will be stored in a secured health profile area on Google. Google hopes that the pilot program’s users will see a benefit in sharingÂ their health records with insurance providers, physicians, pharmacists, and hospitals electronically.
Google is not the first major player trying to cash in on online medical record storage. Microsoft’s HealthVault lets users store and share information about their health online as well.
Although I think the free flow of medical records is an excellent idea, security and privacy could be a huge concern. We may be trusting Google with too much information.