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Exploring Human Potential

Will Google Deliver a Killer Health Application?

Posted on | June 7, 2010 | No Comments

Will Google deliver a killer health application? Who knows?

Neil Versel, of Fierce EMR, weighed in on June 3rd with this post:
“Google is denying a report by an industry analyst that it is giving up on its much-hyped but little-used Google Health PHR.

‘The project is alive and well from a staffing perspective,” an unnamed source is quoted as saying on eWeek’s “Google Watch” blog.

‘We continue to invest in Google Health–we see it as a multi-year effort and think that finding ways to empower consumers help solve important problems, in health information and beyond, is very much in line with our corporate mission. As we demonstrated at HIMSS [in March], we continue working to add new features and grow our ecosystem of new partners with Google Health, and will have more to share in the coming months,” a company spokesperson says in the same blog post.

The response is a reaction to a report by Chilmark Research analyst John Moore, who last week said that Google management have grown tired of their product’s “lack of relevancy” and were on the verge of “pulling the plug on Google Health and either letting the team go or reassigning them to other divisions within the organization.”

Moore said Google has allowed its product to stagnate while competitors in this rather nascent field of personal health platforms have continued to innovate. “Rather than build out new features, support a broadening array of standards, focus on the necessary business development that is required to establish partnerships, Google has taken a laissez-faire attitude to this product/service never dedicating more than a handful of engineers to the effort and most often flexing in outside vendors, such as IBM who built the module to bring in biometric from Continua compliant devices,” he wrote.

Moore was careful to say that Google isn’t exactly killing Google Health. “What it does mean is that Google Health has been put into stasis, that we will not see any new innovations, we will not see an expansion of its support of standards beyond the bastardized version of [the Contiunity of Care Record] that Google Health currently uses and the number of new partners, be it those providing data (payers, providers, etc.) or using it (ISVs), joining the Google Health ecosystem will trend to zero,” he said.

My reaction: I continue to be amazed how underpowered the visions are: tethered to hospitals and doctors offices and passive repositories. Only when the vision is right – forward facing, automatic data flow and personalized – will a “killer application” change the rules of the health care game.

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