Google looks to organize health records
Search giant Google has launched in beta a site that allows users to organize their health records online.
The service is much like similar offerings from providers such as Revolution Health. Users can gather their health records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, as well as use the site to track the latest information on health issues.
Google will offer the service at no cost, and will not sell information to third parties. The user will have the option to choose which information is available to those accessing his profile.
Based on the information provided, Google Health then displays further information on health conditions that the user enters. If needed, the user can also add additional profiles to track the health conditions affecting family or friends.
Medication interactions can also be tracked based on these entries as well. While it stresses that the information should not be taken as medical advice, it still could be a useful feature for those required to take several prescription medications.
In addition, the site can send out SMS alerts to remind users to take certain medications.
Partners at launch include Walgreen's, CVS, Quest Diagnostics, and others. It is also working with Aetna Health Insurance on some of the features.
The company emphasizes that these are only partners. "Google has no financial relationship with any of these companies. You decide whether to connect with a service and share your health information with it," it said.
As with any of these health sites, potential privacy issues abound. For example, the data shared is either "all or nothing." Thus, a user cannot select which health records he would like to share with health providers.