Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Google Health

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Feb• 21•08

Google is everywhere. CNN reports that Google is venturing into health records biz.

“Google Inc. will begin storing the medical records of a few thousand people as it tests a long-awaited health service that’s likely to raise more concerns about the volume of sensitive information entrusted to the Internet search leader.

The pilot project to be announced Thursday will involve 1,500 to 10,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic who volunteered to an electronic transfer of their personal health records so they can be retrieved through Google’s new service, which won’t be open to the general public…

The third-party services are troublesome because they aren’t covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, said Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, which just issued a cautionary report on the topic.

Passed in 1996, HIPAA established strict standards that classify medical information as a privileged communication between a doctor and patient. Among other things, the law requires a doctor to notify a patient when subpoenaed for a medical record.

That means a patient who agrees to transfer medical records to an external health service run by Google or Microsoft could be unwittingly making it easier for the government or some other legal adversary to obtain the information, Dixon said.”

The New York Times blog BITS also has a post about Google Health as well.

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  1. Dr Bonis says:

    People is really sensible to the confidentiality of their medical data. It is critical information.

    The danger with Google Health and HealthVault is that somebody in the future crack their security systems.

    Also the fact about a private company getting data about your health must concern us.

    There is an alternative, http://www.keyose.com/, designed by the doctor that described the first case of Wiiitis, its philosophy is based on total anonymous users. A smart mechanism allows the store of clinical record without asking you any personal data (not even your email).

    Confidentiality is in such a way assured.