For almost 18 months now, Google has been working on a product offering in the growing field of consumer health information. The much awaited Google Health (pilot) has been launched in association with the Cleveland Clinic informs the Google Official blog.
About 1,500 and 10,000 patients at the clinic would be the first ones to test the service after having volunteered that their personal medical records be allowed to be used at Google Health's online storage. Cleveland Clinic, the big medical center has begun to link the health information of patients with Google's personal health records.
At present there are more than 100,000 Cleveland Clinic patients seeking help from Cleveland Clinic's electronic personal health record (PHR) system called eCleveland Clinic MyChartÃ‚Â®. All of whom have a personal health record. However, a large portion of those patients are retirees, hence many of them spend about five months away from the clinic, where the clinic's electronic health records can't follow them.
"Patients are more proactively managing their own healthcare information," said C. Martin Harris, M.D., Chief Information Officer, Cleveland Clinic. "At Cleveland Clinic, we strive to participate in and help to advance the national dialogue around a more efficient and effective national healthcare system."
"Utilizing Cleveland Clinic's PHR expertise, this collaboration is intended to help Google test features and services that will ultimately allow all Americans (as patients) to direct the exchange of their medical information between their various providers without compromising their privacy," he added.
This pilot service would later be extended to a broader audience, other than the ones availing the Clinic's online patient services. In addition to enabling the portability of patient data it would also allow them take their data with them wherever they go.
"We believe patients should be able to easily access and manage their own health information," said Marissa Mayer, Vice President, Search Products and User Experience, Google. "We chose Cleveland Clinic as one of the first partners to pilot our new health offering because as a provider, they already empower their patients by giving them online tools that help them manage their medical records online and coordinate care with their doctors."
The integration between Google's and the Cleveland's systems would enable:
- National Access: A more efficient and effective healthcare system driven by a working interoperability model that moves electronic medical records from a closed model to one that is open and connected.
- Consumer Empowerment: A secure patient-centric, consumer-driven tool that will provide each consumer increased control of their medical care, without compromising their privacy. This will empower patients to actively manage their overall health.
- 24/7 Access/Portability: A web portal with 24/7 access, capable of providing the consumer with an opportunity to actively engage in their health care, heightening the importance of quality care and service by providers.
For Google Cleveland is just the beginning and it aims to associate many healthcare providers that will securely send medical records and information via Google APIs at the patient's request. "We've been hard at work collaborating with a number of insurance plans, medical groups, pharmacies and hospitals," said Alan Newberger, Engineering Manager at Google. "While this pilot is open initially to just a few thousand patients, I see it as an important first step to show how Google can help users get access to their medical records and take charge of their health information."