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Google launched it’s web 2.0 healthcare platform

Google Health

Google Health allows you to store and manage all of your health information in one central place for free. Note that the service is currently English and US only (and for users age 18+), though you can access the interface from other countries too, so I took a quick peek at it.

 

Google Health is seems to focus more initially on the consumer side and offers an online PHR that allows people to manually input their medical data such as age, weight, medical conditions, medications, allergies, and other data which is simelar to that what eHealth guidelines define as the basic emergency minimal data set. In order to be succesfull Google Health will have to tackle the existing health data silos as it proceeds to increase interoperability and work closely with solution providers offering EMR solutions. Today Google Health lists only eight partners so far from which it can import medical records, and half of them only cover drugs (Medco, Walgreens, RXAmerica, and Longs Drug Stores). The others are Quest Diagnostics (for lab tests), MinuteClinic from CVS Caremark.

 

So what’s in it for Google? 

 

First questions that readers will ask, is what is in it for google and what happens with my data? Google states that the user controls the information and won’t share information unless the patient agrees. (patient consent functionality). The Google Health terms of service, which you need to agree to when you sign up, disclaim that the content should not be used during a medical emergency, for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition, but is meant for informational purposes only. The privacy terms state that only those entities and individuals the user designates, can share the health information for the purpose of providing medical care and for the purpose of sharing my information with others that the user chooses. As with their other services, Google links in the general privacy policy which says they may share your data to “satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request.”

 

Does this exclude that google can share aggregate, anonymous information from their Google Health records?  

 

Another opportunity for google is turning the Google Health application into an open platform to drive growth through the use of the Health data API, that allows partners to upload medical records and get patient medical data and supports a subset of the Continuity of Care Record

 

So what’s in it for SAP and SAP’s eco-System?

 

SAP has a large footprint within the european healthcare market and together with partners SAP offers solutions and technology that could link the enterprise world with the web. According to Google’s website, Google is looking for “strategic partners who can help our users get access to their medical records and prescription history.

 

The general question to be asked: will consumer driven ehealth overtake enterprise or government driven eHealth initiatives? And is there an opportunity to link web-based initiatives such as Microsoft’s Healthvault, Google Health or ICW’s Lifesensor and SAP Customers? 

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11 Comments

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  1. Richard Hirsch
    Hi,

    As you state, “SAP has a large footprint within the European health care market”. I think in this market data privacy concerns (at least at the current time) may hinder the development of such systems.

    I think you have to differentiate between which audience /market you are addressing. Are you looking at the relationship between users and their health insurance companies or between individuals and their doctors or between users and clinics or between users and pharmacies.

    The general question to be asked: will consumer driven ehealth overtake enterprise or government driven eHealth initiatives? And is there an opportunity to link web-based initiatives such as Microsoft’s Healthvault, Google Health or ICW’s Lifesensor and SAP Customers?

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      1. Hi Dick,

        You will find the answer in my reply to Claudius Metze’s comment.

        regards,
        Bart

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    1. Dear Richard,

      Thank you for your comment. From my point of view, we have to rethink relationsships when we talk about health 2.0. Health 2.0 is an an emerging industry that promises to change the ways patients manage their own health, is consumer driven and represents an incredibly powerful development in health care technology, which has a very accessible value proposition in terms of its ability to impact the health of large populations.

      Health 2.0 is based on the power of social networking, people will use Web-based platforms to reformulate data for their own purposes.

      Health 2.0 initiatives could also make the mostly-boneless local, regional or national eHealth Exchange efforts obsolete in their infancy. The question that rises, will classic vendors and their customers will embrace this opportunity   and is Europe ready for consumer driver healthcare initiatives?

      Regards,
      Bart

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      1. Richard Hirsch
        Bart,

        I agree that Health 2.0 has potential but I think is difficult to compare a Health 2.0 site with a web 2.0 site – for example one dealing with consumer electronics. If I take the advice of another user on a consumer electronics site, I may purchase a radio that doesn’t fit my needs. If I take the advice of a fellow user on a Health 2.0 site, I may end up with serious medical problem or even die. Therefore, there are legal ramifications that must be considered as well.

        How do you see SAP software getting involved in Health 2.0 efforts? As the software provider of Health 2.0 communities? As the software integrator between community and hospital / pharmacy?

        Dick

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    1. Claudius,

      Thank you for that link. Joerg Schwarz gave us the asnwer, “building SOA infrastructures that connect health care provider applications is not as sexy and media prone as the glorious PHR, but somebody’s got to do it. And yes, that’s us, Sun, the dot in dot com and the hyphen in e-Health.

      Sorry for John, but knowing our customers, I guess they will prefer integrated and supported services that come on top of their exsiting solution, eSOA is the answer.

      A quick calculation:

      eSOA = eHealth

      equals

      SOA = Health

      No dot or hyphen needed, and bringing all eHealth back to plain Health.

      Regards,
      Bart

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  2. Mor Sagmon
    Hi all.
    In my mind, the question whether community power prevails enterprise & vendors is market specific.

    In some EU markets (as in Israel), the medical file ownership by the HMO (or primary care provider) is dominant. A GP will prefer to rely on medical records that were created under his coordination, rather than accept medical history obtained from someone else. The ties between the HMO and the patient are binding.
    In the U.S., on the other hand, medical service is considered to be more of a “consumer goods” (or services), and their billing system is also service oriented and not HMO driven.
    It would seem that the U.S. market will be more adaptive to patient’s ownership, providing them with their medical record in some form.

    As for the legal aspect, a Physician can always choose whether to consider or dismiss the information provided, can always print or attach it to the medical file, thus can cover himself.
    I guess this would be a gradual process, where only some patients will leverage this option.
    I know I would be happy to be able to attend treatment and just point to my medical records on-line as supplementary information for the care provider. He may choose to use it, or loose it.

    As for SAP, I believe flexible approach is in place, per region. SAP should leverage its strength in EU through its customers, and exhibit a more flexible, community-driven, “2.0” like approach in the U.S.

    Mor

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  3. Mor Sagmon
    Hi all.
    In my mind, the question whether community power prevails enterprise & vendors is market specific.

    In some EU markets (as in Israel), the medical file ownership by the HMO (or primary care provider) is dominant. A GP will prefer to rely on medical records that were created under his coordination, rather than accept medical history obtained from someone else. The ties between the HMO and the patient are binding.
    In the U.S., on the other hand, medical service is considered to be more of a “consumer goods” (or services), and their billing system is also service oriented and not HMO driven.
    It would seem that the U.S. market will be more adaptive to patient’s ownership, providing them with their medical record in some form.

    As for the legal aspect, a Physician can always choose whether to consider or dismiss the information provided, can always print or attach it to the medical file, thus can cover himself.
    I guess this would be a gradual process, where only some patients will leverage this option.
    I know I would be happy to be able to attend treatment and just point to my medical records on-line as supplementary information for the care provider. He may choose to use it, or loose it.

    As for SAP, I believe flexible approach is in place, per region. SAP should leverage its strength in EU through its customers, and exhibit a more flexible, community-driven, “2.0” like approach in the U.S.

    Mor

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    1. Dear Mor,

      Even within a closed and tied patient-doctor relationship-model, patients can act as customers and won’t accept that their health professionals are the exclusive source of medical knowledge and wisdom. But I agree that PHR deployment will advance much quicker in the US, then in Europe.

      At the end collaboration is about unifying the cultural DNA, helping members to work together, which could create an healthy and vital professional paradigm. The HMO model impliments this new paradigm, and financing collaborative healthnetworks seem to not that complicated.

      For regions with outdated professional paradigms, where costs are spread between different stakeholders, new approaches, strategies and observations that don’t confirm to the doctrines of the dominant paradigm are mostly denied, ignores or exlained away. The disruptive effect of web 2.0 could trigger waves of
      change across the whole healthcare sector.

      Yes, I agree, with the exsiting customer base in Europe SAP should be able to leverage it’s strength through its customers. Do you have any suggestions?

      Kind Regards to Israel,
      Bart

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