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Could Google Health provide real health care reform?

Posted Mar 31 2010 1:11pm

My daughters will head to college at the end of the summer. If they have a health problem while at college, they’ll likely 03CGGOOGLE.jpggo to the university health centers at their respective schools. This means they’ll be seeing a new doctor, someone other than the doc they’ve gone to for the past 18 years.

Wouldn’t it be great if they walked into the doctor’s office, and had their up-to-date Google Health profiles– their records of prescriptions, supplementation, vaccines–on their I-Touch ready for the doc to download and view. And any additional services the doc provides would be added to the record at the time of service. This very simple information transfer could reduce the chance for diagnostic errors, drug interaction hazards or misappropriated diet and exercise recommendations.

After taking a few minutes to finally peruse Google Health, I’m wondering if this health service platform could not only be a difference maker in preventive health, but also a difference maker in health care cost reduction, outcome improvement and service delivery efficiency (er…commonly known as health care reform).

Google Health is much more than maintaining Web-enabled health records.  It’s a suite of services ranging from personalized consultation with world-class physicians to competitive drug pricing options , doctors on demand , even clinical trial participation opportunities for testing new drugs.

I’m sure these added service options will only expand. Wouldn’t it be great if there could also be a supplement advisory service, helping consumers sort out the good stuff from the bogus material, and providing personalized guidance on total nutrition and lifestyle. “Hmmmm, let’s see Mr. Maltby. Your serum results indicate you have an active, balanced immune response, a low level of inflammation, but you need to get off the couch more often, especially now that March Madness is over, and work up some sweat and pulse rate by walking or jogging a few times a week. And lay off the chocolate. I know the research says it has health benefits, but you’re overdoing it, according to your food diary and your blood workup I just viewed on your account profile. I’ll see you again online in 6 months.”

I’m sure that can happen now in many online locations. But when it’s all packaged under House of Google and linked to Google’s growing, distributed health databases, it could take cost-efficient, preventive health to a new level.

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