Google Health Impressions?

Has anybody given Google Health a try already?

I am preparing an article about this and would love to hear impressions.

I gave my views on Google Health in an article in the Wall Street Journal . I hope that you all can read it and use it to make your own objective opinions. But i’m not so sure about Google Health myself.

I saw the news on France24, looked at it a bit further, and am of two minds about it: one, that it could be great for data mining for better medical care; the other, that our medical privacy will be completely abrogated and we will be much more subject to medical identity theft than we are today. I started working on a blog entry about it yesterday night, then ran into some other issues that made me put it off for a bit.

If anyone has privacy concerns, then i suggest you take a long hard look at Google health. Or any company that wants to store your private information. It’s free. So how do they make their money? Make a guess. I am constantly amazed about the advertisements I start receiving for various medical products or services immediately after I have a procedure done, or blood work for a particular condition or any group of x-rays. Who gave out the information? Who knows, but it had to be someone I trusted with it to begin with. I for one will never give any other company all my private information or write down a list of medications. My doctors can’t remember what i take even though they prescribe it and it is written in my chart. I have to bring in a list every time I see any of them.
I am sorry, but I have no “objective” opinion about any company that wants my information. Not even Google Health who says that my privacy is “foremost” in their minds. If we as diabetics don’t keep track of our own medical care, we are up the proverbial creek.

What I find a hoot-and-holler is that at least half of the spam I could consider “medical” is about one quarter for the size increase of male anatomical structures, one quarter for male ED drugs specifically, 40% for “cheap drugs” (often emphazing male ED drugs), and the rest for relief of menopause symptoms… none of which “information” is of any practical use to me.

On an everyday practical note, I’m much more worried about the PAs on the walk-in side of the doctor’s office trying to prescribe drugs in categories to which my records already state I am, as a class, allergic.

And, of course, I’m concerned that if I were to use a publicly-accessible platform such as Google Health, the information could be used against me for hiring decisions and insurance decisions, or that someone could hack the data and insist that I NEED drugs to which I am allergic, at a time when I am unable to countermand a doctor’s order.

On the positive side – and yes, I can see a positive side, if I could trust Google (or another company providing such a service) – I can see a way to cull aggregate medical data for statistical analysis of what therapies do and don’t work, for how long they work, long-term side effects (are there any adverse effects to taking dyazide, or metformin, as a maintenance drug for fifteen years?), little-known side effects, etc. I can see a way to measure wild hypotheses (is there a connection between disordered eating and future development of diabetes? is there a particular virus of virus type that appears to herald the onset of T1?)… (Follow the links on Scott Strumello’s May 16 Blogspot entry to see what positives can come of aggregating information.)

I’m just not ready to trust Google with that information.

Hi Tmana,
Thanks for that link to Scott Strumello’s blog. I had not seen it before and am very glad to have gotten a chance to read it. I would like very much to see some REAL medical data used for studies instead of the wild assumptions put out by the ADA, etc. And I am also very concerned about the PA’s and nurses who prescribe drugs for us. I have run into a near death experience two times from that kind of mishandling. Of course I stopped seeing that doctor, but the problems from that kind of practice are ongoing.
And I am happy to be included as a friend. Thank you.

Scott also commented on my blog post on the topic; he mentioned that even with HIPAA, there is very little (read: effectively no) privacy protection for medical information. One of the links he referred me to suggest that there is almost no protection for the security of medical information, either.

This is one reason that programs such as Pre-Paid Legal’s Identity Theft Shield program is set up to assist subscribers in avoiding and mitigating issues of medical identity theft and Social Security Number theft, as well as credit/banking identity theft. (Disclosure: I am a Pre-Paid Legal associate and therefore am not a disinterested party.)