Google Health Accused of Inaccuracy in Electronic Medical Records
Google Health, Google's health care IT solution, has been taken to task by physicians who say the billing information it uses for some patients' electronic medical records can give an inaccurate picture of their health conditions. Since rolling out in Feb. 2008, Google Health has been positioned as competition for Microsoft's health care IT offerings, as well as sites such as WebMD.Google is encountering protests from users who say the information its Google Health beta Website presents has the potential to be inaccurate when it comes to electronic medical records. Much of the online traffic over the issue has stemmed from one particular case, that of kidney cancer survivor Dave deBronkart, who transferred his medical records from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to Google Health, only to find that the latter had taken information from his billing records to incorrectly state that he had chronic lung disease and other conditions.
"I've been discussing this with the docs in the back room here, and they quickly figured out what was going on before I confirmed it: The system transmitted insurance billing codes to Google Health, not doctors' diagnoses," deBronkart wrote on his personal blog on April 4. "And as those in the know are well aware, in our system today, insurance billing codes bear no resemblance to reality."
Google upgraded Google Health in March 2009 to allow users to share medical records and other personal health information with doctors and trusted contacts. The announcement was greeted with skepticism by some users, who voiced privacy concerns. That same month, Google unveiled that it was participating in a pilot program with the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) that would let Medicare beneficiaries in Arizona and Utah import their Medicare claims data into Google Health. First introduced in February 2008, Google Health allows Google to share competitive space with Microsoft's health care IT offerings, as well as Websites such as WebMD.