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Google Health's Lifeline Runs Out 196

Posted by timothy
from the when-that-lining-isnt-silver dept.
turing0 writes "As a former bioinformatics researcher and CTO I have some sad news to start 2012 with. Though I am sure not a surprise to the Slashdot crowd, it appears we — or our demographic — made up more than 75% of the Google Health userbase. Today marks the end of Google Health. (Also see this post for the official Google announcement and lame excuse for the reasoning behind this myopic decision.) The decision of Google to end this excellent service is a fantastic example of what can represent the downside of cloud services for individuals and enterprises. The cloud is great when and while your desired application is present — assuming it's secure and robust — but you are at the mercy of the provider for longevity." (Read more, below.)
turing0 continues: "I am surprised to see Google abandoning Google Health just when we can see the benefit to personal health when micro sensors such as the Nike Plus and Jawbone's UP bracelet are entering the market. Greater amounts of personal health data can be gathered now via smartphone and then turned into valuable preventative as well as useful diagnostic medical information.

Shuttering Google Health is a surprising and short-sighted decision on Google's behalf, IMHO. Perhaps closing the Google Health service is not 'Evil' per se — but given the immense magnitude of financial resources at Google I cannot believe Google Health will make a decimal place of impact on Google's operating costs. Services like Google Health are a fantastic public relations tool as well as an amazing potential source of raw scientific data if nothing else.

In closing, it's very funny to note Google suggests Google Health users migrate GH data to the Microsoft Health Vault. Hopefully some Web service other than Health Vault will rise from the ashes of Google Health. The real benefit in terms of Google being a custodian of my health and wellness records via Google Health was that Google as a corporation is considered a trustworthy intermediary by most users and health care professionals. Now I am not so sure; perhaps it's time to re-claim my email ..."
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Google Health's Lifeline Runs Out

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  • Re:Hippa (Score:5, Informative)

    by markdavis (642305) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @05:22PM (#38558374)

    It is "HIPAA", not "HIPPA", and yes it most certainly DOES apply to information you give to a company :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_health_information [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Hippa (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 01, 2012 @05:27PM (#38558410)

    See "covered entity":
    https://www.cms.gov/HIPAAGenInfo/06_AreYouaCoveredEntity.asp

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @06:23PM (#38558774) Homepage

    Google isn't selling people.

    Microsoft makes most of their money selling things for which end users, be they businesses or individuals, pay real money. Microsoft Office, Xbox, stuff like that. Their customers are their users. Microsoft's aggressive activity is generally aimed at competitors.

    Google sells ads, and information about and access to their users. Google's customers are almost entirely (94% of revenue) advertisers. Google's aggressive activity is aimed at their users. When Microsoft got into serious legal trouble, it was over their behavior towards competitors. When Google got into serious legal trouble, it was about their behavior towards users. See the DOJ non-prosecution agreement in the pharmacy case. [googlemonitor.com]

  • Re:hoarded (Score:4, Informative)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @08:55PM (#38559794)

    That's weird. I live in AZ, and I recently had a CT scan done. They gave me a CD-R of all the images before I walked out the door, and I loaned that to my surgeon to take a look at (along with the radiologist report). I still have the disc, so I'm the "owner" of the images.

    As for my dentist, we'll see when I move out of state if my dentist will transfer my records to my new dentist. He's a pretty nice guy and I suspect he will, but I don't know for sure yet.

    It does help, however, to check out your doctors before doing any business with them. Look them up on Google Maps and see if there's any reviews written about them. Shy away from anyone with negative reviews. Before seeing my current surgeon, I had a visit with a competing one, and what a jerk he was, and his office staff was utterly incompetent, mixing up my records with some other patients' (one bimbo said this was a recurring problem for them). I canceled all future visits and found my present surgeon who's great, but I looked up the first one and found a bunch of bad reviews complaining about the office staff etc. I added my own too.

  • by Treffster (1037980) on Monday January 02, 2012 @12:25AM (#38560866)
    I am a full-time software engineer working in Health IT, specialising in in-hospital cross-system integration. Our business is accepting the data feeds from lab systems, radiology systems, ED information systems, and patient administration systems, and then present the results as a cohesive single health record.

    Well, you'd think standards and compliance would make it easy, but that assumes when people say they meet the standard... they ACTUALLY meet the standard. Format is one thing, but ensuring correct sequence and field validation is something else entirely. Unlike HTTP and the internet, in health there are no business drivers for integration compliance.

    On the contrary - large companies (like Cerner) who can offer an "all-in-one-integrated-solution" benefit from the lack of conformance. The real obstacle is not setting up trusted health vaults, that's the easy part. The difficulty is populating it with live information, from live systems, with full trust.

    Of course, that's before you mention terminology. Does a haemoglobin result mean the same thing from two different lab systems? How about normal ranges? Blood glucose or urine glucose? Presenting complaint vs discharge diagnosis? I'm not trying to be overly pessimistic, but this is a much more difficult problem than simply sticking up a database somewhere.

As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"

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