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Google Health Records

Filed under: Computers and Technology,Health — Tags: , , , — Paddy Wallbouncer @ 9:55 am 2008 February 21

Google is going into the health record keeping business. They’re testing a system with the Cleveland Clinic where patients can look up their information online. The patient can control who gets to see their online records.

Anyone who’s visited the doctor in the last few years is aware about privacy requirements on the part of the provider. The United States enacted legislation called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. (HIPAA) This legislation protects the individual by making sure the patient gives clear consent to parties requesting information. The problem is, it has lopped another level of bureaucracy on the health system in the United States. You need to fill out a HIPPA form anytime your records go from one of your doctors to another; from your general doctor to your heart specialist, for example. It would seem this is an effort to streamline that process.

The Cleveland Clinic already uses its own electronic health record system and it houses records of around 100,000 patients. They will be giving a small portion of this population the opportunity to participate in the trial with Google.

On one hand you have a the Cleveland Clinic, a relatively small but prestigious healthcare company diligent in protecting it’s records along with Google; the internet marketing Behemoth and purported experts in the Internet. It looks like a good thing. On the other hand you might consider these questions: Would Google be able to give the attention to the patient records required to ensure their security? Is it naive to believe the Clinic couldn’t hire the right people to make sure the records are kept secure without Google’s help?

Lowering costs in Healthcare in the United States is important, We’re sure neither is doing it for their health, but will the savings come at a cost in security? We’ll keep you informed of this and other breaking news.

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