Examining Google Health

The prospect of online health records—which often incited baseless anxiety—may finally be becoming an American reality. Indeed, President Barack Obama ran for office in 2008 on a promise to computerize medical records within five years. While this project would be costly up front (with a prospective $100 billion budget) the move to digital records could conceivably save the health industry more than $300 billion a year (http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/12/technology/stimulus_health_care/). This switch would also create new jobs and make health recordkeeping easier, as well as more accessible, affordable, and secure. Because of President Obama’s initiative, and other various digital advancements, many programs are currently in development to help establish and grow online health record systems.

The Rise of Google Health

A stand-out user-oriented platform that is currently in Beta testing and great for daily use is Google Health. The program offers an online space that helps users securely organize all of their health information and records. As a user, you can choose to keep all your data private, or you can choose to share certain information with other parties, like doctors, health facilities, family, or friends. Importantly, Google Health allows you to access all of your information anywhere, at any time. Better, if you continue to upload your most current health information, the data in your account will always be up-to-date, and thus accurate. Signing up is also as easy as can be; to start an account all you will need is a Google username and password.

Platform Strategy

One of the best components of Google Health is its platform strategy. Designers have developed the program such that individual users can automatically import their own health data. Employing the platform, users can upload anything they wish, from prescription and doctor histories to test results. Thus, with Google Health, anyone can control their medical data without difficulty, in one easily-accessible place. Further, in the future, this very platform capability will enable individual users to interact with health service providers to do things like refill prescriptions, make appointments, and more.

Wellness Tracking

Google Health also has some remarkable wellness-tracking capabilities. The system allows you to record your health goals, like weight, blood pressure, and number of days you’ve gone to the gym. It also has the power to help you do things like count calories or grams of fat that you’ve consumed and record your sleep hours, as well as other health factors that can be counted or monitored. As of late, the platform has expressed its dedication to personal fitness and wellness programs, and may be partnering with larger health organizations to carry out its goals. Best of all, if you’re a Smartphone user, you can integrate your Google Health account with other health apps, which only adds to this platform’s credibility as a singular, integrated health record system.

Sources:

“About Google Health” http://www.google.com/intl/en-US/health/about/

“Google Health, A First Look” http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/google-health-first-look.html

“How Obama’s Electronic Medical Record Plan could Jolt Content Management’s Importance” http://www.zdnet.com/blog/doc/how-obamas-electronic-medical-record-plan-could-jolt-content-managements-importance/1180

"Obama’s Big Idea: Digital Health Records” http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/12/technology/stimulus_health_care/

Image courtesy of: http://www.tecnerd.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Google-health.jpg

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Hertencia Bowe, MSA, RHIA, the National Health Information Management program coordinator for Rasmussen College School of Health Sciences. In this role, she oversees the development and expansion of the College’s Heath Information Management and Health Information Technology degree programs and curriculum.

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