Google Health Causes Controversy

by francine Hardaway on May 20, 2008

I have been waiting forever for Google Health. When it launched yesterday I immediately created a profile and linked it to my Walgreen’s prescription file and a health information site. I’ve already been informed that people my age should be seen by a doctor if they are taking Armour thyroid, which I am. (It was prescribed for me by a doctor).

Today I read Fred Wilson’s post about how shocked his Twitter followers were when he said he wanted to make his Google Health record public. One of the respondents even said it was “all right for him to do it, because he was a VC,” but if the rest of us did it we’d be screwed.

What a sad state of affairs when people are afraid to share their medical records on the one hand, and are searching all over the Internet for information and support groups on the other hand. Myself, I’m with Fred. I want to be in the best position to get help when I need it. And that means sharing my records with anyone who can help, no matter where they are.

So if I could press a button and make my records public (which is not possible now), I would choose to do it, if only for the reason that I travel all over the world and spend half the year in Arizona and half in California. So now, the thing I’m not satisfied with is that my record is incomplete. I need to link in with the lab that does my blood work, the mammography center, the people who did my spine MRI, the people who did my colonoscopy, and my primary care doc, who has all this stuff in a paper file.

Because I have this opinion (I would have the URL of my record tattooed on my forehead) I have tried manhy different PHRs (personal health records) and found them all wanting. Revolution Health was the most vaunted of those, but there’s also Microsoft’s Health Vault and a couple of small ones I don’t even remember.

Revolution Health, former AOL CEO Steve Case’s effort, has evolved to an information site more than a PHR, although it started with high hopes for a PHR component. And HealthVault has become a back-end solution. To date, everyone has broken their picks on the complex issues of privacy, data interoperability, data portability, and simple data entry. Even Dossia, an ambitious cooperative effort sponsored by former Intel chairman Craig Barrett, has faltered in its effort to get the data of large corporate employees into their own hands.

Until we control our own health records, all the stuff about who owns the data on Facebook is trivial. I desperately hope Google is successful in its efforts, because Google knows how to manage data. If we drive them out of the market, we are in big trouble for our own health in the future.

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The Right to Know – Health Goes 2.0 | IMPAKT
September 16, 2011 at 1:39 am

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tyson crosbie May 20, 2008 at 5:40 pm

I agree with your post, and was shocked at the response on twitter as well. Some of my health information is so private right now I can’t even get access to it.
The ending to your post nails it exactly. Until we start controlling our own information it doesn’t matter who owns it. Applicable to any “private” information– credit, health, etc.

Ed Dodds May 23, 2008 at 4:10 am


RE: Healthcare and venture – you might find Milt Capp’s posts of interest concerning venture’s apparent complete disregard of the “Innovation Plantation”:

francine hardaway May 23, 2008 at 6:06 am

I went back there and posted. They have the same problem Phoenix has.

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