While Google Health suffered a public relations snafu through no fault of its own last week, Microsoft scored a major public relations coup today, April 21, when the Mayo Clinic announced it will create a personal electronic health record repository using HealthVault technology rather than Google Health.
Earlier in April, Microsoft also announced a partnership with New York-Presbyterian Hospital, while Google announced a deal allowing customers of the CVS pharmacy chain to transfer their prescription records to Google Health.
Google Health suffered a black eye late last week when it turned out that John Halamka, the highly respected CIO of a Boston-based hospital group and chairman of the New England Healthcare Electronic Data Interchange Network, erroneously included patient billing data via Google Health in a way that "was a mistake."
Halamka's error is part of the learning curve for nascent electronic health record practices and was quickly corrected -- and shouldn't reflect badly on Google; Google Health was simply the portal. But electronic health data is a very touchy subject for many patients, especially where the all-seeing, all-knowing Google is concerned.
Indeed, Google is especially susceptible to being painted as the villain; my eWEEK colleague Nick Kolakowski's piece, headlined "Google Health Accused of Inaccuracy in Electronic Medical Records," incorrectly fingers Google rather than Halamka, and is picked up by the Wisconsin Technology Network.
The structure of this Boston Globe headline, "Beth Israel Halts Sending Insurance Data to Google," also implies that Google is somehow at fault.
Google, which doesn't charge for this service, is clearly trying to do something good, but its efforts may end up turning more people against it.