Tuesday, August 14, 2007

NYT Looks At Dr. Google and Dr. Microsoft

Today's NYT article, Dr. Google and Dr. Microsoft, takes a look at how Google and Microsoft are focusing efforts on the health care industry and how to improve the traditional health care system by utilizing technology to allow patients greater access and control over their personal health information. Both companies are still in the planning phase and trying to determine what will work and what patients might want, use and need.

The entry of these two tech giants along with a slew of other health-technology companies are likely to cause disruption in the health marketplace traditionally controlled by historic models (physicians, hospitals, insurers, etc.) Whether there will be enough momentum to bring change and whether patients are willing to trust these new models is the question that has yet to be answered.

Interestingly, the article mentions a little more about what Google Health might look like. The Google Health prototype focuses on the health consumer:

The welcome page reads, “At Google, we feel patients should be in charge of their health information, and they should be able to grant their health care providers, family members, or whomever they choose, access to this information. Google Health was developed to meet this need.”

A presentation of screen images from the prototype — which two people who received it showed to a reporter — then has 17 other Web pages including a “health profile” for medications, conditions and allergies; a personalized “health guide” for suggested treatments, drug interactions and diet and exercise regimens; pages for receiving reminder messages to get prescription refills or visit a doctor; and directories of nearby doctors.

The article also mentions West Virginia native, David Brailer, former Bush administration National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology, who now heads up Health Evolution Partners. Note: Yesterday Matthew Holt posted at The Health Care Blog that Dr. Brailer will be joining the list of speakers at the Health 2.0 Conference to be held next month. Mr. Bosworth of Google will also be on the consumer aggregator panel being moderated by another top health care thinker, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn.

UPDATE: Interested in learning more about Google Health? Check out this post by Jeff O'Conner at the Health Care Information System Blog with links to the Clinical Cases and Images Blog with links to screen shots of the prototype.

Also check out what Doc Searls perspective at ProjectVRM Blog.

UPDATE2: Good insightful follow up post, Here comes Google and Microsoft, from Tony over at Hospital Impact. I especially agree with the last two paragraphs:

Of course, all the same old data issues have to be worked out - privacy, malpractice, storage, interoperability, and security . . . Plus, there's a little problem with funding and business model (hopefully we will never see a Google banner ad within our medical record!) . . . Make no mistake about it- this is not a continuation of the Google vs. Microsoft War that's been going on for years. This is Google or [insert brave company name here] against the most powerful force of them all: the healthcare industry status quo.

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