The following appeared a day or so ago in the New York Times.
June 24, 2011
By STEVE LOHR
Google is giving up on its vision of helping people live healthier lives with online personal health records.
When Google Health was introduced in 2008, Marissa Mayer, a Google executive, said it would be a “large ongoing initiative” that the company hoped would attract millions of regular users.
But Google Health never really caught on. In a posting on the company’s blog on Friday, Aaron Brown, senior product manager for Google Health, wrote that the goal was to “translate our successful consumer-centered approach from other domains to health care and have a real impact on the day-to-day health experiences of millions of our users.”
Yet, after three years, Mr. Brown said, “Google Health is not having the broad impact we had hoped it would.”
In the drive to apply information technology to health care, personalized health records are the element that relies most heavily on individual motivation and efforts. They are controlled by the consumer, and require individuals to put in, update and edit their health data. By contrast, the federal government has begun a five-year campaign to accelerate the adoption of electronic patient records by hospitals and doctors, with the incentive payments to physicians topping $40,000.
Personal health records, analysts say, are a new concept to most people, and early users have found them difficult to use. “Personal health records have been a technology in search of a market,” said Lynne A. Dunbrack, an analyst at IDC Health Insights, a research firm.
In a survey earlier this year, IDC Health Insights found that 7 percent of consumers had tried online personal health records, and fewer than half of those continued to use them.
A report has also appeared here ins Australia.
Google is shuttering two services that didn't catch on the way they'd hoped.
- Jeff Bertolucci (PC World (US online))
- 25 June, 2011 08:01
Google's always taken the spaghetti-on-the-wall approach to its numerous tech initiatives: Boil up something clever and toss it on the wall. If it sticks--think Android--hey, fantastic. If it falls to the floor--Google Wave and other flops come to mind--well, better luck next time. Unfortunately, the search giant has two more nonstarters to add to its long list of flubs: Google Health and Google PowerMeter.
In a Friday blog post, Google announce it's shuttering the two services, neither of which caught on in "the way we would have hoped." Google Health launched in 2008 and was designed to give users an easier way to access their personal health records. And PowerMeter, home energy-conservation software that worked with a new breed of "smart meters," debuted in 2009.
Medical Records Online--NOT
From the start, Google Health raised privacy concerns, as critics questioned the wisdom of entrusting one's medical records to Google. Users could manually add personal medical data to their Google Health profiles, or transfer digital records to the service. The long-term goal was for health care providers to allow patients to automatically import their medical files to Google Health.
The service never caught on with the general public, although Google says select groups of techies and fitness buffs have adopted it.
"Now, with a few years of experience, we've observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would... But we haven't found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people," writes Google.
Google Health will close on January 1, 2012. Users will be able to download their Google Health data through January 1, 2013.
The obvious question this prompts is if Google can’t make a voluntary PHR system work just what does NEHTA / DoHA think it can offer that will attract more attention, adoption and use.
The more important point is to note that adoption of any patient managed and accessed electronic record system is driven by a few key factors, the most important of which is the perceived utility and value offered by such a record system to the individual consumer.
Other factors obviously include the perceived security and privacy controls and the ease of use of a particular system.
NEHTA and DoHA need to reflect deeply on what has happened here and possibly re-consider their overall e-Health approach and the concept of the PCEHR in particular. I for one think the present policy approach is seriously unbalanced in terms of it expenditure and politically driven objectives.