As part of a corporate streamlining, Google co-founder and incoming CEO Larry Page may reduce resources for Google's personal health portal, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Even as Microsoft grows stronger on the health care IT front, rumors are
circulating that Google may devote less attention to its Google Health PHR
(personal health record) portal, according to a Wall
Street Journal report
With co-founder Larry Page preparing to take over for Eric Schmidt as CEO
on April 4, the WSJ article suggests Page may streamline some areas of the
company and reduce resources for Google Health.
"One project expected to get less support is Google Health, which lets
people store medical records and other health data on Google's servers, said
people familiar with the matter," the WSJ article states.
Google did not respond to eWEEK's request for comment by press time but told
Foley of ZDNet
, "We don't comment on rumor or speculation."
, consumers can track vital medical data within their Google accounts
and import information from doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. The service also
tracks goals for fitness, weight and blood pressure-or even how much coffee you
drink in a day.
In addition, the service allows users to keep track of medication schedules,
monitor medical conditions and share the data with friends, family and
Although Google is not likely to drop the portal altogether, it may remain unchanged
in its current form, according to analysts.
"I think they'll just put it into stasis and wait for the market to
develop, because frankly there's not a lot of digital data out there yet,
particularly clinical data-which makes it challenging for Google Health and for
Microsoft HealthVault as well," John Moore, managing partner for Chilmark
Research, told eWEEK.
"I don't think they will drop it like they did with Google Wave,"
Shahid Shah, CEO of IT consulting firm
Netspective Communications and author of the Healthcare IT Guy blog, wrote in
an email to eWEEK. (Shah blogged
about the topic on March 26.)
"Google Health will just become a basic service without much support.
Over time without strategic interest from a senior leader, it will basically
become a tool for developers," Shah predicted.
"I think it would be a political and PR nightmare for them to kill
Google Health. That's why I don't think they would say we're pulling the plug
completely on it," Moore said.
Google Health or PHRs may not affect the market for EHRs (electronic health
records), according to Shah.
"I do not believe the success or the failure of Google Health or any PHR
will, in the long term, make any difference to the EHR landscape," Shah
said. "I do not believe anyone will miss it enough that it will affect
Weak standards and lack of consumer interest have hurt adoption of PHRs,
according to Chilmark's Moore.
at the HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems
Society) conference on Feb.
28, 2008. Since that time, Google has treated the site as a
"sandbox" and invested more in its Android mobile platform, Moore
Microsoft's health care effort may be more organized overall than Google's,
despite struggles by both companies in PHRs, experts say. Microsoft, unlike
Google, has a chief health care strategist, Shah noted.
"HealthVault is in better shape since it has strategic support, and
they are going after traditional enterprise customers," Shah said.
In early March, Microsoft moved
the Health Solutions Group
from the Advanced Strategies & Research
division, led by Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer, to the
Business Solutions Group run by Kirill Tatarinov, the company's corporate vice
president, Redmond reports.
"The move signifies that the organization has evolved out of
'incubation,'" according to Microsoft.
"They needed to have more focus," Moore
said. "There's so many different things that you can try to tackle in
health care, and to a certain extent, it looked like Microsoft was trying to
boil the ocean. It was really hard to understand what Microsoft is all about in
HealthVault is focused more on the clinical data side, and Google Health
incorporates more consumer wellness tools, Moore
"HealthVault is targeted to consumers, but they've done more to build
out the platform to accept different types of clinical data," he said.