When I offered my predictions for 2009 on Cloud Computing to Sys-Con Media, I mentioned about how Health 2.0 will pick up steam in 2009.
Google leading the way. Any attempt by Obama administration to revamp
healthcare will include a Health 2.0 strategy.
Couple of people I know in the industry were apprehensive about putting their health records online and they asked me how I felt about it. I have no problems about it. In fact, I wrote a post on the topic when Google launched Google Health this year. There is not much buzz on the Google Health front after it was launched. It will eventually come back to focus whenever Health 2.0 lifts off big. I thought I will share the post here as some of my observations are still relevant.
Google launched Google Health this year, as a way to store your health records in the computing cloud. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I
have no problems in putting my health records in the cloud. My
insurance company has access to my health records already. If they can
Having made my beliefs with respect to storing my health care
records on the computing cloud clear, I would like to add my initial
observations of Google health. I may write a detailed review at a later
stage but these are just some of my initial observations.
- The interface is simple, like other Google products. I like it
better than any flashy designs. It is your health records and I am
pretty sure many people won’t have anything flashy in it. Simple
interface is always good. (Thumbs Up)
- It is not HIPAA compliant. However, Google explains why it is not necessary to be HIPAA compliant. Since is not a health care provider, they do not come under the terms of HIPAA. Google also offers a page explaining the similarities and differences between HIPAA and Google Health Policies. (Neutral)
- Google Health uses SSL encryption but I would like to see added security. First, unlike what Microsoft
did when it launched Health Vault, Google health is not forcing the
users to set up a strong password on their account. Second, Google
Health is connected to Google accounts and hence to other Google services.
Any “mishap” in one of the other services will compromise your health
records. I would like to see an additional layer of protection with
respect to Google Health. Well, Google suggests you to create an
account just for the sake of Google Health but it is rather naive. They
should add additional layer of protection for Google Health. Third,
there should be an explicit warning to users every time they log into
Google Health about possible security issues when accessing Google
Health from public computers. Users are not all that educated about the
trace of their online activities left on the computers they use. A
warning should be shown before they could log into their account every
time even if it is inconvenient for users. (Thumbs Down)
- Google Health is, atleast right now, US based. For a person like me
who was born in another country, I need more options to make my health
records complete. (Neutral)
- More importantly, there is no option to export my data from Google
Health. It is a downer. I should be able to take my health records to
any service I want. (Thumbs Down)
These are my initial observations on Google Health. I understand that the service is still in
beta and I hope they add more features in the future. Online health
records are important. The complete control of the records should be
given to the users. The security and privacy of the records should be
given the utmost attention. Google has taken the necessary first step,
along with Microsoft and many other startups. We will have to wait and see
how it is going to benefit the customers.