Google Health data services

Care tools, News, Review 21 Comments »

I’m a pretty regular Google user. I have a Gmail account, although it’s more of a backup than my primary email account. Once Google swallowed up Blogger, they got me there too. I also used Google Calendar for work for a while. So, I frequently browse over to Google’s Product and Lab pages to see what else they have cooking.

A few months ago I ran across one of their latest experiments, Google Health.

In their own words…

“Google Health allows you to store and manage all of your health information in one central place. And it’s completely free. All you need to get started is a Google username and password.”

“Google believes that you own your medical records and should have easy access to them. The way we see it, it’s your information; why shouldn’t you control it?”

  • Keep your doctors up-to-date
  • Stop filling out the same paperwork every time you see a new doctor
  • Avoid getting the same lab tests done over and over again because your doctor cannot get copies of your latest results
  • Don’t lose your medical records because of a move, change in jobs or health insurance

The service is still in beta, meaning it is still in early stages of development, as most Google services are (even GMail is still listed in beta), but seems to be a good start. Keep this in mind if you are considering using it on a daily basis.

It would be difficult to cover the service in it’s entirety in this article, especially since it appears that Google is constantly adding new features to it. The most recent includes the ability to link your Google Health account to other services such as pharmacies, so that you can track additional health info from your Google Health pages. Currently, the list of participating companies is small, but includes the likes of Walgreens, Longs Drug Store, and Quest Diagnostics.

As it stands now, I’m not sure how useful it would be to the individual user wishing to track their health info. I do believe it is the ideal application for managing health data for individuals that have multiple caregivers or family members who may need access to the same information such as lists of medications or doctor appointments.

I look forward to seeing how this service develops. I have not yet looked into the security issues of maintaining health info on Google Health, but I see it as a viable tool for caregivers to help manage the frequently overwhelming mass of data needed to care for an individual.

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