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Google Health Launches – Will you opt in?

Alex Christie

21 May 2008

Healthlogo
Google has just finished its pilot test of Google Health and it is now open to the public.  There is a lot of chat on the web around privacy, ‘Big Brother‘, and how much information you should give to corporations.

Being a Google fan (well when the Everflux swings my way…) I thought I would sign up and check it out.  First impressions are it is very American centric (but this would be expected).  It would be nice if they had their measurement converters within their forms.

After filling in my details (Height, sex, age etc) I then was able to set my current ‘conditions’.  Now I dont like going to doctors or hospitals so all my ‘conditions’ are currently undiagnosed.  But I am a big believer in self-diagnosis (what is a medical degree when I have Google?) and the list of possible conditions is massive and a lot of them are linked to Google Health reference pages.  There is a lot of reading there to be had and, being Google, I can only imagine it will grow.

After doing conditions you can go through and select what medication you are on, results from various tests and immunisations.  i am going to fill in that immunisations one as I have had some for coming to China, but missed out on the boosters that would have protected me for life or something so will have to go through the process again…

Now the cool thing is that if I lived in the US and was with one of the participating medical centres, I could just download my medical records from them and save to my profile.  Not only this, but if I make changes then these can be automatically sent back to the medical centre so they know of my new aches and pains (or if I have been to a specialist, what the results were).

Personally, Ithink that this is a great tool for me and I hope that the next medical centre I visit participates.  Being an ex-pat it will be great to have my medical records readily available when needed.

Other functionality is to let medical partners view your profile (it is an opt-in service) so that they can offer you services, news related to the information you have provided and a find doctor search (although it doesn’t yet work in Shanghai…)

Health_screenshot_2

I do get that niggling feeling that Google knows everything about me, with the toolbar knowing all my passwords, Adwords knowing how much I am paying for traffic to my site, Analytics knowing what that traffic means to me, my personal search history (I wonder if it raised a flag that I am not searching for ‘car insurance’ so many times a day) and of course my trust Gmail account which will never run out of space.  If I lived in the US I would have Google Streetview taking embarrassing pictures of me.

So now with Google health added to the list, I am guessing the only service I am still waiting on is Google Music, where I search for a band I like and Google gives me the option to buy that track and add it to my profile where I can retrieve it from what ever PC I am on.

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