Google Health Responds to Inaccuracy Claims
Google decided to respond to claims that Google Health, its health care IT service devoted to collecting users' medical information, can import and display incorrect data. Health care IT has become an increasingly important segment of the IT industry, with major players ranging from Google to Microsoft rolling out continuously updated solutions for patients and caregivers.Google is responding to claims that its Google Health solution, which allows users to collect their medical information in an online account and then port it to their health care provider, has the potential to display inaccurate information.
The controversy that erupted earlier in April 2009 stemmed from the experience of kidney cancer survivor Dave deBronkart, who transferred his medical records from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to Google Health. In the process, Google Health apparently took information from his billing records to incorrectly state that deBronkart suffered from a number of conditions, including chronic lung disease.
The culprit, as it turned out, was the billing codes and associated descriptions in those records.
In addition, Zeiger promised to drill more fully into the overall issue of "data liquidity" to ensure that what reaches Google Health is of higher quality. Google has been upgrading Google Health in recent months, reflecting a growing industry-wide push in health care IT. In March 2009, Google added functionality so users could share their medical records and personal health information with doctors and trusted contacts; it followed this by unveiling its participation in a pilot program with the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) that would allow Medicare beneficiaries in Arizona and Utah to import their Medicare claims data into Google Health.
Competitors to Google Health include Microsoft's HealthVault technology, which was incorporated this month into Mayo Clinic Health Manager, a personal health record service the Mayo Clinic will use to allow patients to monitor their conditions and share information with caregivers. Users of the Mayo Clinic Health Manager will be able to store health information obtained from providers, upload data from home health devices and receive reminders about their care.