Google Health Gets Wellness Tracker, Personalization

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-09-16 Print this article Print

There's been a growing feeling among Google watchers that Google's Health initiative is not well. And that's the last health-related pun you'll read from me in this post.

Google Health launched more than two years ago and not much seems to be happening on that front.

Or rather, it's happening very slowly. John Moore, founder of health care technology analyst company Chilmark Research, wrote May 28 that Google Health has "struggled to be relevant."

A Google spokesperson told me in response:

We continue to invest in Google Health -- we see it as a multi-year effort and think that finding ways to empower consumers help solve important problems, in health information and beyond, is very much in line with our corporate mission. As we demonstrated at HIMSS [the health care show held in March], we continue working to add new features and grow our ecosystem of new partners with Google Health, and will have more to share in the coming months.

The coming months have come and gone and now Google has redesigned Google Health, adding new features that let users better manage their health care information. Here's the revamped portal:

Google Health.png

Note the new info about specific medications, and the overall snapshot of the patient's health. Very detailed, yes? This rabbit hole goes deeper, as Google Health Senior Product Manager Aaron Brown noted:

For example, you might want to set a goal around walking more each day or to lower your cholesterol over time. With our new design, you can easily monitor your path to success with a visual graph that shows your progress towards your personalized goal. You can even create custom trackers for other things that you want to monitor like daily sleep, exercise, pregnancy or even how many cups of coffee you drink a day.

Google offers screens of this technology here.

Google also partnered with Fitbit, which makes a wearable device that captures health and wellness data, and CardioTrainer, which makes a mobile application for tracking fitness activity.

Apparently, within two weeks of the CardioTrainer integration users had uploaded more than 150,000 of their workouts to Google Health, allowing them to view and monitor their workouts.

The blog post at the least tells me Google isn't quite ready to dump Google Health, that it has belief in its viability over the long run versus Microsoft's HealthVault.

Still, some believe the U.S. masses are not ready for online management of PHRs (personal healthcare records).

Specifically, one reader suggested that the United States is not ready for PHRs as citizens fear insurance companies might see health information that could adversely affect their insurance premiums.

What do you think? Do you fear storing your health care info with Google?

Is Google Health dead-on, or on the long path for fulfillment? And when can we expect Google Health to reap revenues for Google? |

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