Friday, June 24, 2011

Google cuts and runs early - The Death knell has sounded for #GoogleHealth

So Google is cutting and running too early from Google Health. In the short term this no doubt makes obvious sense to Google but in the long term I believe this to be a big mistake. 

Health was always a long term play. An industry mired in regulation and conservative approaches, things were never going to change quickly. However, momentum is building. We are seeing a tremendous uptick in innovations that make use of Government Health Data. Just look at the activities at the recent DC Health Innovation Week and people like Tim O'Reilly calling for us to rethink Privacy in Health where "HIPAA has represented the Maginot Line in Health Data protection". 

Personally, I still use Google Health on a daily basis. My Fitbit and numerous other health related data sources feed in to Google Health and pass data out to other services like I recently moved my Pharmacy because I could have my data automatically piped in to Google Health

Google Health - what we call an untethered Personal Health Record - was NOT a destination in and of itself. Instead it was more useful as a conduit through which we could channel our health data. 

What is ironic is that Google is implementing the Direct Project protocol to make it easier to exchange Google Health Data with other platforms. The Direct Project Protocol is what the Patients 2.0 movement liken to a white button (like the VA's Blue Button) but one that allows me to send my detailed health data to another site or provider. There is a lot of discussion happening around the Rainbow Button Initiative (Blue, White, Green and Red buttons) in the Patients 2.0 world. 

As Meaningful Use requirements kick in as a result of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act we can expect to see Patient Portals popping up like daisies and consequently a growing need to provide a place that Patients can bring together all these disparate data sources in order to get a comprehensive view of their Health. It is not happening yet, but expect to see changes happening in 2012 and people starting to look for solutions to help them get their arms around their health data. The problem for Google will be that by cutting and running now who will trust them in the future if they decide to come back to the table?

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