The future looks bright for Google but not so bright for PR. The idea of medical records being stored online could make people a little nervous.
Google began storing medical records of a few thousand people Feb. 21 as a pilot project. The project involved 1,500 to 10,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic. They all volunteered to an electronic transfer of their personal health records so they could be retrieved through Google’s new service.
Each record includes information about medical histories, prescriptions and allergies. The records will be protected by a password that is also required to use other Google services such as e-mail and search tools.
Private medical information will be in the hands of Google. Can it be trusted?
I think it’s a little scary to know that health records will be available online. Privacy may become an issue along with third-party access because the online health records are a violation of HIPAA.
According to a CNN article about Google and the health records, HIPAA classifies medical information as being a privileged communication between a doctor and patient. This means that a patient who agrees to transfer his or her medical records to Google could be unwillingly making it easier for the government or other legal groups to get its hands on the information. If the medical records aren’t protected by HIPAA, the medical information could be used for marketing purposes also, you never know.
The Associated Press learned from the Cleveland Clinic about the pilot project Google was conducting. The Cleveland Clinic already keeps the personal health records of more than 120,000 patients on its own online service called MyChart.
Technology has improved over the years allowing more information to be accessed by the public. Could this technology infringe on people’s privacy? Could your health records be at risk of falling into the wrong hands? I know I would not feel comfortable putting my personal health records on the Internet. I think I will just use the old fashion way for now: going to my doctor to access my records.