Google is one step closer to organizing the world’s information. It has announced in the Wall Street Journal this week that it will begin to allow people to put their health records on the web. Actually within Google, which really isn’t the web. On the web would probably be a little too broad since that usually means it can be searched for and viewed by everyone. Google is developing a new health record initiative that will allow people to upload and manage their health information on the Google platform. I refer to it as a platform and not a web site, because Google technically is not a web site. More on that below. Google much like Microsoft, and its HealthVault program, are entrenching themselves more and more into our lives. They are no longer just search engines indexing sites; they are becoming huge depositories of information that will eventually know more about you and friends and family than you do. This is not a bad thing, and you shouldn’t complain about it because you agreed to it when you signed up for your Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo! account. You gave up your “privacy” when you clicked on the terms of service agreement checkbox. I find it interesting when people complain about privacy on the Internet. The Internet is a public space that is completely voluntary; nobody makes you put your information out there. Actually, nobody makes you go online and search for stuff or read email, so the arguments about privacy are weak. It is a risk you take when you venture into a public forum.
A Google Spokesman in the WSJ stated that:
“For us trust between Google and our users is one of the absolute cornerstones of our business. And we are absolutely committed to continuing that dedication in all of our efforts.”
Can your credit card company say that?
A fact that some have realized but most have not is that the Internet is not just about web sites. People use the Internet for almost everything, a lot of it no longer focused on someone going to a web site and reading about an organization and its products. It is about interacting with others, forming communities and organizing our crazy lives. The most popular sites are not ExxonMobil, GE, Coke and other very large organizations. They are sites such as Reddit, Zulu, Furl, Digg, FaceBook, YouTube, Ebay, LinkedIn, Google and other sites that are interactive and form community. Google has been more than a search engine for quite some time it offers Gmail, office applications, video, blogging services, instant messaging, photos… The idea of providing health records is just a logical step in its progression of filling its corporate mission of gathering the information of the world. You are in the world, and your health record is information…
Hospitals and other health organizations need to take off their 1999 hat, and realize that people really don’t care about your facility or no smoking policy. People want to take control of their health and the way they are treated when they interact with a hospital. This will be done through hospital sites becoming more interactive and community focused through video, blogs, forums, and hospitals working with organizations such as Google, Revolution Health and Microsoft in creating portable electronic health records. Hospitals talk about being patient centric, here is one more way to do that.
Cleveland Clinic seems to have figured it out, we wrote about it earlier this week…