Are you one of those crazy Google
Perhaps you won't have to wait long. A pilot project involving electronic storage of and access to the medical records of 10,000 patients of the Cleveland Clinic is expected to take six to eight weeks. News of whether or when a future launch might happen could follow.
The Cleveland Clinic announced Wednesday that it will team up with Google to make patient records more portable. Google will sync the existing electronic medical records stored at the clinic with its new system, so that patients and their doctors will have access to the records even when they're not at the Cleveland Clinic.
The idea isn't terribly radical. Microsoft
The difference is that Google has been highly successful at connecting advertising partners to their potential audience. With patients accessing health records, Google could easily populate related ads on a future launch.
One of the biggest problems with these websites is getting the information transferred into the systems with as little effort as possible. Do you really want to be deciphering your doctor's handwriting? That's where Google's strategy of trying to get medical centers to act as their go-between might beat Microsoft, which is focused on independent health applications and syncing up with medical devices made by Johnson & Johnson
The other problem with these systems is the issue of privacy. I'd be OK with using something like this -- Google probably already thinks I'm a walking medical disaster based on the number of drug and disease searches I do for work every day -- but I wonder how many people will be willing to turn over private health-care information to Google. The new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has made all of our health-care records more safe, but it doesn't cover non-medical institutions that you might give your information to.
File this in the "stay tuned" folder. There's certainly plenty of money to be made if these companies can persuade patients to sign up.
For more about the online giant:
Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., loves to see the Google ads that appear when he gets Gmails with the word "Fool" in them. He doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.