Matthew Holt

Google Health — A serious test drive

After all the fuss, I thought that I should take Google Health for a real test drive. So I did. Given that it contains a gazillion screenshots, I did it in the form of a slide show and uploaded it to the slideshare.net website. To view it, you’re best off using the full screen mode (which you can get to by opening “view” (the middle of the three links below the slides, and then clicking the “full button” on the bottom right in the slide on slideshare).

I’d of course love your comments about my conclusions.

 

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10 replies »

  1. I feel this idea is a bit a head of its time, with the highest users of healthcare probably being less net-savy (research on this??), resistance to status quo by physician offices, and cost disincentives (even if you join will your doctor use the data, if the doctor joins will patients have their data, etc). Seems with all the free storage and email available, there could even be a ‘free’ platform for this concept that would drive more interest from both ends. I understand the costs of data protection are higher, but that could be offset with directory ads (like find a cardiologist if the data reports high blood pressure).

  2. I feel this idea is a bit a head of its time, with the highest users of healthcare probably being less net-savy (research on this??), resistance to status quo by physician offices, and cost disincentives (even if you join will your doctor use the data, if the doctor joins will patients have their data, etc). Seems with all the free storage and email available, there could even be a ‘free’ platform for this concept that would drive more interest from both ends. I understand the costs of data protection are higher, but that could be offset with directory ads (like find a cardiologist if the data reports high blood pressure).

  3. I wonder if the motivated healthcare consumer is going to wait around for his providers to get linked. It seems to me there are plenty of other apps that can touch the Google PHR for reasons of wellness, fitness, commerce and sex that have their own adoption curve.
    So many people buy vitamins, follow diet gurus, jog and mediate — healthcare beyond the doctor’s reach — that a Google-branded health facility sounds like a billion dollar idea, even if no doctor ever sees one.

  4. Thanks for the comments so far
    Andrew: I fixed my incompetence–thanks for pointing it out
    Jordan. I saw your slow lane drive…I hope you finish it (or at least wonder through some of the peaks and valleys) and let us know aobut it
    1st Goog no harm: thanks for the plaudits. Re your criticisms.
    a)”grabbing data from elsewhere” I did say the list of partners was regrettably short. My wife told me about the Quest issue. As is happens I had some lab work to be done this week, so I went to a Quest lab. They told me that my HMO had no deal with them, and that the work was $400, or Labcorp downstairs would do it for free. Given that my interest in finding out the interface with Quest was less than my interest in keeping $400, I guess I’ll start lobbying Labcorp to join up. But this is of course the key problem
    b)My relationship with EMD. FD, followed by an admission of guilt is I think OK. I used DoubleCheckMD because 1) It’s really really good, and 2) I was sitting in the home of the CEO writing this and when I got stuck looking for an interaction to demonstrate, she came up with one. So I’m lazy too!
    c) Moving data to those partners. I didn’t find moving data to them too difficult. What I found in general was that there wasn’t much that could be done to the data you moved. However, in the case of iHealthRecord, nothing moved over — hence the error message on Page 21. Hopefully that’s clearer now
    d) Adoption rates. I have no idea what Google thinks will be a success. My guess is that 1% of US Google users would be a good start.
    e) Applications for sharing with and messaging doctors need to come next. If every Doctor hears, send me an email that I can put in Google/Microsoft….then I think we’ll get somewhere. it is though a chicken and egg situation I know.

  5. The privacy issue is simply huge. I don’t know why the advocates don’t get it. The lay people I talk to *all* express concern about it; some flat-out say “No WAY I’m giving them my data.”
    The two most common concerns I hear are that nobody wants a TJX-style hack-in to happen with their health info, and nobody wants to risk Ashcroft-Rumsfeld-Cheney jerks serving up warrantless National Security Letters etc and giving the data to other govt agencies “and other parties,” as authorized by USA Patriot.
    The other day NPR had a piece about how some Iraq veterans are going private-pay because they fear what will happen if the military finds out they’re being treated for PTSD.
    Then there’s the issue of Google’s corporate integrity. (See the CNet.com episode and China. All this has been discussed at some length on the e-Patients blog and elsewhere, which I cataloged briefly on my little blog.)
    Now, perhaps those concerns are completely baseless, but I haven’t (yet) heard anyone say why, except “Oh, don’t worry about that.”
    Granted, there are the people who say “Google knows it’s not covered by HIPAA, so it wrote its own tougher rules.” Which, of course, can’t be enforced. Who’s kidding whom?
    I’d feel a lot better if all the enterprises that want to get into this great opportunity (and it is one) would work to get HIPAA updated to cover their case.
    I’m all for technology and its benefits for all of us, especially patients. But I have a very strong feeling that it needs to be done open source, not by someone who will gladly import your data but won’t let you export it again. Is there any not-for-profit justification for that policy?

  6. Nice job, Matthew!
    What I so liked:
    slides 15-19:
    discussion of Rx checking, & early shortcomings of current implementation (examples: handling of the user interface; warnings without specification of what the person should do next).
    What could have been better:
    slide 6: “You can go grab records from elsewhere”.
    Hmmm….not so often, not so much.
    Try it, for example, with your Quest Diagnostics lab results. Your MD has to issue you a QD PIN – and unless your MD is so inclined, that’s the end of the road. I’ve tried it – my MD’s office told me that not only did they NOT know anything about it, they did not WANT to know anything about it, and would not LEARN anything about it or DO anything to enable it.
    So I’m looking for a new MD, but that’s another story.
    slide 15: your “FD” (aside: the world probably doesn’t routinely recognize FD as an abbreviation for full disclosure) that you’re working with a meds-checking application firm, then providing screenshots for their wares, while knocking a competing firm. Why not just use work done by an unaffiliated firm for reference’ sake?
    slide 20: you need to be clearer about how to move data FROM GOOG Health TO a PHR or other resource. Why? b/c GOOG itself does not make that clear AT ALL!! ; )
    slide 44: Your vaguely asserted performance threshold for GOOG Health ‘success’: “If Google can’t get consumers to use a PHR platform…”
    Bah.
    1) How MANY consumers need to use GOOG Health – heck , to even create an account – before you, or me, or the lamppost can declare success or not? Is it the 1% microtrend fraction you mention approvingly elsewhere at THCB? Less? More?
    2) How FAST do people need to make/use an account to signal success?
    My personal feeling is a successful adoption # & rate is very low – lower than many, maybe even GOOG, would find acceptable.
    Why?
    a) Because people are people most of the time – not patients.
    b) Because unlike online banking – which has had by some accounts a leisurely uptake rate – people don’t even have an offline health records analogue to GOOG Health or HealthVault, unless you’re ready to count their file folder (or drawer, or shoebox) full of miscellany. I’m not (ready to count the folders as analogue, that is).
    Strong Finish
    Fortunately Matthew, you finish strong, as you customarily do, with your emphasis on the primacy of fortifying data SHARING capabilities. That’s is MUST improvement #1.

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