Time to Take Temp of Google Health
Google is holding a press pow-wow Monday, May 19 at its Googleplex in Mountain View, offering what an invite says is "an insider's perspective on search" and "an update on Google Health."
The former sounds like background BS. What will Google tell us about its search that it hasn't already illuminated? Even if it gives up the secret sauce to its search, we still wouldn't be able to fathom how it works.
The latter portends some useful information in the wake of the vague unveiling of Google Health by CEO Eric Schmidt and its team at a health convention in Orlando in February.
Google Health is the company's strategy to help patients access their personal health records no matter where they are, from any computing device, through a secure portal hosted by Google. So if a person from Connecticut gets sick traveling in Florida, a local doctor can go online to access the patient's health records without all of the paper shuffling.
What wasn't made explicit at the time was how Google would ensure patient's privacy (and therefore protect Google from lawsuits), or exactly what providers will interoperate with Google Health.
These providers will allow patients to import doctors' records, prescription history and test results into Google Health. These partnerships will ultimately let users schedule appointments and refill prescriptions. Perhaps these two things will be fleshed out. After all, the initiative is supposed to launch sometime this year.
According to a Deloitte study, 60 percent of respondents want online access to their doctors, to medical records, test results and to same-day appointments, with a quarter of them claiming they would pay more to physicians for such digital amenities.
Almost half said they'd like to keep an online or software computer program personal health care record, with women most likely to want online access to medical records and test results. Gen X and Baby Boomers are the most likely to use health-related sites.
Those stats certainly answer the "why" in why Google and Microsoft want to delve into online heath records. Now it's a matter of fleshing out how they will go about it. I expect to hear more about this, as well as how Google Health will tie with Google Search, Monday.
What I don't expect to hear about, but am dying to know, no pun intended, is how Google will make money from ads on Google Health. There are billions to be made in healthcare advertising, verdad?
I expect there will be a special program/platform for this, just as it tailors AdSense for different mediums.
Speakers will include Google Product Management Directors R.J. Pittman, Carter Maslan, Johanna Wright and Marissa Mayer, who as Google's vice president of search products and user experience, resident fashion and expert and chief socialite, rarely misses a Google gig.
Check back Monday afternoon EDT. Google Watch will be following via Webcast and eWEEK will have someone on hand to attend at the Googleplex.