I hope to use this post to motivate my good friends at Google Health into taking a much more public, visible, and proactive role in the health conversation. More importantly, it is a call to Google HQ to wake up to the opportunity within health care to leverage their current tools and technology to create a platform that others can use to enable the creation of a next generation health system.
The scene was familiar, but it didn’t take away the tragedy. A young motor vehicle accident victim was involved in a head on collision with a drunk driver. The blunt trauma to the chest had created a literal mish-mash of complex internal injuries. The ambulance crew had attempted multiple times enroute to obtain a pulse and the monitors were all flatlined from the field. They intubated the patient in the field, performed CPR enroute, and initiated a ATLS protocol which included shocking the patient en route. In the face of asystole (lack of heart movement) after blunt trauma to the chest, the indication is to literally crack the chest open (called a anterolateral thoracotomy), a serious medieval last ditch rescue effort to save a life.
My perception is that the Mack truck called Microsoft HealthVault has just run over a young upstart, Google Health, who had such a promising future. The blunt trauma has put the patient in a precarious fight for survival, and the only way out that this ER doctor can see is to crack the chest open.
I really like Missy, Roni, and crew and believe they are smart, capable, and well connected individuals who have really done some great work to get the product launched. However, I cannot for the life of me understand why Google as an organization cannot get serious about the Health care vertical. A couple of stats:
Here is my most recent assessment of the Microsoft Health vs. Google Health
It is not like Google couldn’t do some amazing things very fast. I am not just talking about Google Wave style innovation, I mean just their current assets themselves could be reassembled in short order to produce a very useful health care communication platform. They already have gmail, calendering, photos, search, documents, video, chat, and a framework from which to store/retrieve their health information. I think you could build out a mashup in no time that is immediately competitive and would be the leading “groupware” tool available. They also have all their current relationships and the interest of any health care CEO in the country.
Ironically, the reference to iGoogle (platform w/ widgets of functionality) was mentioned more than once at the Microsoft HealthVault conference. I don’t remember hearing about this at the Google conference – oh, oops – Google doesn’t have a conference.
I guess my point is that I love the innovation machine that is Google. I am just profoundly disappointed at what appears to be a lack of commitment by the organization to truly invest and innovate in the health care space. Is it a strategy question? An opportunity cost situation? Why the paralysis?
Google! The patient is dying on the table. The only thing I can see doing at this point is getting out the rib cutters.