Hello Google Health

After months of reading about Google’s technology offering for personal health records- the wait is over. Visit the beta site here.

Google is already the first stop for most of us on our quest for health information. Millions of patients (and thousands of providers) have been accessing health information on Google for years. So Google’s latest entry into the digital health space isn’t surprising.

Google Health is making it easier for consumers to find timely, personalized health information. The site tries to simplify interactions with the healthcare system and emphasizes the importance of organizing one’s health information as a way to improve relationships with healthcare providers and take better control of one’s health.

So, what can you do at GoogleHealth?

1. Create and Manage Health Records
Anyone can create their own electronic personal health record — and access it from anywhere. Store prescription details, health insurance information, condition information, surgeries, etc. Users can create additional profiles for their children or parents. Members can view a summary or details of their medical history and can choose to share their information with their family, healthcare professionals or keep it for themselves. Google has partnered with hospitals, labs, and pharmacies to import medical records and prescription histories. Users sign in at the partner’s site and confirm to link their accounts and transfer data to Google Health. In February, Google partnered the Cleveland Clinic to test the service with about 10,000 patients who were already using the hospital’s online health records system. Some of Google’s partners now include Walgreens, CVS, the American Heart Association and Quest Diagnostics.

2. Learn about conditions
Medical conditions are linked to educational information about symptoms, causes, and treatments – making it easy to find personalized health information.

3. Manage Your Medicines
With the “virtual pillbox”, users can learn about drug interactions, and be reminded to take or refill medications.

4. Find Doctors and Hospiltals
Locate doctors by location or specialization, and add providers to medical contacts list so this information is easily accessible.

Since Google health stores and manages an individual’s health records, the big question of privacy over sensitive information ultimately arises. Doesn’t Google already have access to enough of our personal information? Google insists that they store the information securely and privately. Since the user decides who, if anyone, has access to their records, Google is putting privacy in the control of each user.