Thursday, July 07, 2011

Reaction Roundup and Analysis of the Demise of Google Health. There Are Real Lessons for the PCEHR Program.

The demise of Google Health was the global e-Health news item of last week. On that basis the views of the various commentators seem to be pretty valuable - especially given that there are some similarities with the proposed PCEHR.

The following are the useful ones I spotted during last week.

http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/lesson-google-healths-demise-untethered-phrs-likely-doomed/2011-06-25

Google Health's demise spells trouble for 'untethered' PHRs

June 25, 2011 — 11:29am ET | By Ken Terry

Google's decision to pull the plug on its Google Health platform, effective Jan. 1, 2012, is not unexpected. As John Moore of Chilmark Research points out, there have been numerous warning signs since Google Health was launched in March 2008. But the real question raised by Google Health's impending exit is whether consumers will ever adopt personal health records en masse--and if so, whether PHRs will reside on universal platforms like Google's, or will be attached to particular provider organizations.

Let's be clear at the outset: some of Google Health's problems are of its own making. Somehow, the Internet behemoth had the idea that if it built a PHR platform, consumers would flock to it, attracted by the Google name. That, they believed, would provide the "scale" that Google needed to generate enough healthcare searches to make Google Health a viable business proposition. Obviously, that didn't happen. Only 7 percent of Americans have a PHR, and only a small portion of those people utilize Google.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/why-google-health-really-failedits-about-the-money/2011/06/26/AGNJw7lH_story.html

Why Google Health Really Failed—It’s About The Money

By TechCrunch.com, Published: June 27

Editor’s note: This guest post was written by Dave Chase, the CEO of Avado.com, a health technology company that was a TechCrunch Disrupt finalist. Previously he was a management consultant for Accenture’s healthcare practice and was the founder of Microsoft’s Health business. You can follow him on Twitter @chasedave.

As reported on TechCrunch, Google shut down its medical records and health data platform. Since then, there’s been a lot of bits spilled offering explanations, but they all missed the most critical item. Money. Or in the language of healthcare—Reimbursement. I explain more below regarding why Google Health was doomed to fail in light of the legacy reimbursement model.

First, let’s recap some of the explanations offered up so far. These are all valid but miss the biggest point.

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http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20110627/NEWS/306279987/

Analyzing Google's exit from the PHR market

By Joseph Conn

Posted: June 27, 2011 - 12:15 pm ET

Google is not talking further about its decision to drop its personal health-record platform, Google Health, preferring to let last Friday's blog post announcing the move stand for itself, according to company spokesman Jason Freidenfelds in an e-mail today.

So, to get the big picture of what Google's withdrawal from the PHR space might mean, Missy Krasner may be one of the best people to ask.

Health IT cognoscenti will remember Krasner as the peripatetic special adviser to Dr. David Brailer, the first head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS. From there, Krasner shipped out to Google to serve first as a founding member and project manager of Google Health and then as a product marketing lead for consumer search.

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http://www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=37935

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How a Broken Medical System Killed Google Health

Google would have had to fix a balkanized U.S. health-care system to make the service catch on.

By David Talbot

At the end of this year, Google Health will flatline. The service couldn't encourage many people to import or analyze their health data, and experts say its untimely death is, in many ways, an extension of U.S. health-care providers' failure to share data across institutions, or make it easy for patients to obtain it.

Google's free online service lets people upload, store, analyze, and share their health information. But there are hundreds of different health-care institutions in the U.S. that use different systems to record and store data, and many doctors don't use electronic records at all, making the task of retrieving and updating data extremely difficult for the average person, says Isaac Kohane, who directs the informatics program at Children's Hospital in Boston, and codirects Harvard Medical School's Center for Biomedical Informatics.

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5 Reasons Why Google Health Failed

What doomed Google's online personal health record system? For starters, consumers haven't bought into the basic idea.

By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek

June 29, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/EMR/231000697

Last week, Google confirmed what had been rumored for quite some time: The company is pulling the plug on Google Health, the online personal health record system that they launched in 2008. The service never really took off, and here are five reasons why:

1. Consumers, for the most part, just weren't interested or didn't even know what a personal e-health record is.

Despite all the attention e-health records have been getting from healthcare providers since the HITECH Act was passed in 2009, consumers are still pretty oblivious to offerings that allow them to electronically compile and manage their health data. In fact, an IDC Health Insights online survey of 1,199 consumers earlier this year found that only about 7% of respondents reported ever having used a PHR. The leading reason for consumers not using a PHR? About half said they haven't been exposed to the idea of using a PHR. In a similar survey done by IDC five years ago, 52% gave the same reason for not using a PHR. Not exactly progress.

2. Consumers who are aware of PHRs tend to use physician, hospital, and even health-plan portals to keep track of their records.

That's because, unlike Google Health and many other consumer-oriented PHRs, the bulk of the patient's key data--like test results--is already available in the record, supplied by the provider or health plan. Also, unless patients have a chronic or serious health issue, they only use personal health records very sporadically. By the time many healthy patients have another occasion to use a PHR after it's been set up, they probably have forgotten they even started a record and can't be bothered.

In fact, of consumers that have tried PHRs and stopped using them, 15.9% said they didn't want to spend time entering their data and 22% didn't see value in doing so, according to the recent IDC survey.

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Of these articles the last one cited is really a worthwhile read, with all offering different perspectives that are worth considering.

The bottom line, as I see it, is that unless a PHR like offering offers compelling value to potential users, and fits the needs of the consumer, adoption will be very slow indeed. At the least it needs to offer easy e-mail to your clinician, easy referrals and repeat prescriptions and so on.

Of course the utility to providers is a separate issue - and with the PCEHR not offering much of that either - it is hard to see how it will actually attract much interest.

Those sponsoring the PCEHR have been warned!

David.

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