Look What Google’s Doing!

 

medical-records.jpgLook who’s entering the health records biz: Google!

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? 

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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.

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4 Responses to Look What Google’s Doing!

  1. Barb Moxey says:

    Sarah ~ Medical records on the internet is a scary thought. There are already so many problems with breeched security on the internet . Seems risky to add personal medical records to the internet world.

  2. probar says:

    The only logical explanation I could think of is that maybe these patients who release there medical records have cancer or some type of incurable disease. If doctors around the world can look at these patients medical history maybe it can help in curing some of these conditions or least help with treatments and so forth. Patients who have cancer can relate to the other patients in seeing a common connection. But besides that, I can’t think of any other explanation.

  3. tomw says:

    Maybe people are more comfortable with this now that we’ve all had our credit card numbers out on the Internet for years.

    This is the challenge. If I’m going to have my whole lifetime of medical records (and my family’s) at my fingertips, I have to store it somewhere. I’m surprised there is no private key encryption mentioned. Not sure if I want an XML document out on the cloud with that kind of data, but if I could scramble the thing I sure would feel better about it.

    I think the driving factor is the idea of PCHR trumps just about everything else. Collecting data from all the different healthcare facilities into one UI is the goal. What is the solution to the data storage problem?

  4. Fred says:

    I live in the UK. Over the past year there have been dozens of cases where our Government and its institutions have lost extremely sensitive data involving millions of citizens – leaving laptops on trains, dropping memory sticks in pub car parks; you name it, they’ve lost it.
    So the idea of Google taking care of business sounds good to me. Can’t be worse than what is already happening with our absent minded beaurocrats.

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