It's a huge problem. Unless you're incredibly healthy, or simply refuse to see the doctor, you've got records. Medical records, x-rays, lab tests, charts, doctor's notes, annotations, and pages and pages of miscellaneous scribbles. The problem is how to manage them.
How do you get your records from here to there? Well, it usually means a phone call, or a fax to authorize release, or a letter, or a visit in person. Then, it's on to the next provider, and the next, ad infinitum. There's got to be a better way, don't you think?
Google thinks so too. In their quest to set all things digital in order, Google has turned to the complicated arena of personal medical records with the launch of Google Health. While others, including Microsoft and former AOL's Steve Case, have already entered the fray, Google's entry is causing quite a stir.
They've teamed up with some heavy hitters in the health care field, including the prestigious Cleveland Clinic. The goal is to establish a private electronic collection site for medical records. The site will be password protected and access controlled by the patient. If all works according to plan, the process of forwarding medical records in the future will be as simple as a few clicks of the mouse.
Google has also teamed with Quest Diagnostics, health insurance provider Aetna Inc., and the pharmacies of Walgreen's and Wal-Mart. The eventual goal is to make Google Health a one-stop portal, where consumers can refill prescriptions, schedule medical appointments, and manage health records.
Google plans to make the service available for free - they expect to earn income through revenues generated when consumers search for health related topics from the site.
Keep your fingers limber and go out and buy that new mouse. You'll want to be ready.To read more about Google Health, see this from Reuters. To read more about the competitive offerings, see this from HealthVault, and this from Revolution Health.