Google cares about your health?

February 26, 2008 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Taro in ThailandGetting my head out of Leadership now and back onto my pet topics. Not content with knowing your search patterns or snapping you standing on a corner with Google Street View, Google now wants to know about your health.

According to The Australian, Google is starting to test its capabilities in storing the health records of 1500 to 10,000 suckers…sorry…people at a health clinic in the US. In their attempt to aggregate everything, Google will provide the participants with a password that will give them access to their health profile, which will contain information about allergies, prescriptions, test results, medical history and so on. An added bonus is that the password will also give access to Google email and personalised search tools (don’t want those people running off to Yahoo! or somewhere else now do we?!).

Apparently, Google views its expansion into medical records management as a logical extension of its search engine capability. Yep, I can sure see the link between searching for information on how to take a good photo and medical history; or LOLCats and medical information (well, okay, if kitty is a bit sick, then I can see the link!).

Now privacy types like me would be asking some questions – how secure will this service be? Doesn’t Google already know enough? Does Google store email discussions? Is the future going to be the Googlization of everyone and everything?

And the lawyer in me asks: given that Google would be a third-party, would the privileged doctor/patient relationship still hold or would it be possible that private medical information might be easier to subpoena or access? And privacy advocates are also asking whether Google will be making money out of this service and whether a taxonomy of medical information held would be tied to Google Ads.

Mmmm…watch this space.

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Entry filed under: Google, Medicine, Personal health records, Privacy.

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