Google Health

Have you heard? Internet search giant Google has just officially launched last Monday, 5/19/08 - Google Health, a hosted service which allows users to store and manage information regarding their health online, and share that information with nominated individuals and institutions. As with similar services from Microsoft's HealthVault, Revolution Health, and WebMD, the basic service at Google Health is a place to store personal medical data. They also help manage wellness programs such as diet and exercise. Initially, tie-ups with health providers, such as doctors, clinics, and pharmacies are only available in U.S. for now, but sooner or later, I'm sure that it will be massively available globally. The prospect of having all health institutions linked through Google Health would be a milestone.

However, as expected, the launch did not get through without facing skepticism from a number of privacy advocates warning that this service could expose consumers to unsafe disclosures of health records. They also say that hackers may maliciously try to use sensitive information stored. Concerns arise as well on whether Google would use stored information commercially. The good news is: all of these apprehensions were aptly addressed by Google's Privacy Policy where the company has assured that all records stored will never be shared, sold or used commercially without the user's explicit permission. Google also assured that the health site is hack-free and all data stored are secured and highly protected.

I tried signing-in using my Google account to see how it works, and like other Google sites, navigating it was easy and simple, really user-friendly. I like the online tools available for users, I particularly like the glossary they have of all types of medical conditions that is complete with all the information you need to know about a disease - symptoms, treatment, causes, prevention, etc. Just having a read through all these will help you learn a lot about health. Another online tool I liked was the Heart Attack Risk Calculator as provided by the American Heart Association, after linking your profile with them, you get an analysis of your heart condition and estimate your risk of having a heart attack.

Wow! Google never ceases to innovate and impress us with cutting-edge services that benefit the general online public, especially internet savvy people like me. Kudos to Google!

1 comment:

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