Google Gets Into Healthcare

February 29, 2008
I was down in Orlando this week for the annual HIMMS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) conference and exhibition, a show dedicated to transforming healthcare through IT.
This is a new space for me, so I attended with the view of taking in as much as I possibly could in the short time I had at the show. I’d also like to send a great big thank you out to Michael Carr of IgeaCare, who took the time to shepherd me around the event.
I’ll be writing more about my experience in an upcoming issue of Internet Telephony and of course here on TMCnet, but I wanted to get a quick post in about something Google is doing on the healthcare front.
Last week Google announced a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, a large academic medical center centered around giving patients access to their own medical records.
The pilot is open to just a few thousand patients to start, but Google is collaborating with a number of insurance plans, medical groups, pharmacies and hospitals to see the project through.
Writing on the Official Google Blog, Alan Newberger, Engineering Manager, expressed his view that the pilot was a key initiative. “I see it as an important first step to show how Google can help users get access to their medical records and take charge of their health information,” he wrote.
CEO Eric Schmidt gave the closing keynote at HIMMS, and he spoke publicly for the first time about Google’s overall health strategy.
According to Google’s Marissa Mayer, VP, Search & User Products, “Google Health aims to solve an urgent need that dovetails with our overall mission of organizing patient information and making it accessible and useful. Through our health offering, our users will be empowered to collect, store, and manage their own medical records online.”
Here's what Mayer sees as the key differentiators that set Google Health apart from other solutions offering personal health records:
As you would have assumed by now, Microsoft too has a horse in this particular race, with their HealthVault solution. Announced last October, the Microsoft offering is designed to allow users to store and share health records online, to collect and manage health data on a variety of home devices, and to search for health information.
The overall eHealth market is poised for tremendous growth. In fact a recent report from INPUT positions the market for Federal government healthcare IT spending a poised to grow by 7.1% (CAGR), from $3.2 billion this year to over $4.5 billion in 2013.

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