The End of Google Health

Google Announces End of Google Health Product

I got my email recently to remind me about my Google Health account. Last June, Google announced they were discontinuing their Google Health product. It will retire on January 1, 2012 and data will then be available in a zip file to download through January 1, 2013.The reason Google gave was that it “didn’t catch on the way we would have hoped”. I don’t know about you but doesn’t that sound like something you would say about a pet rock or the slinky?

Personal Health Records (PHR) are an integral part of the future of health care along with EHR adoption. Currently less than 10% of Americans use PHRs but when all health care providers can actually provide our records to us electronically, a PHR will be as common as our driver’s license or iTunes account.

In a study this year, the independent National Opinion Research Center at University of Chicago focused on consumer/patient attitudes towards health IT and electronic medical records. While 78% of the people favor the use of electronic records and believe they could improve care, 79% thought PHRs would help patients to be better informed about their health, and 72% support sharing health care information between providers.The study believes this shows clear support of the federal initiative on EHR adoption.

In a post on The Health Care Blog after Google’s announcement last June, Missy Krasner, founding member and former product marketing manager of Google Health and senior adviser to former ONC David Brailer, wrote, “Because health care is not a true market-based commodity in this country, patients end up being lousy health care consumers. Unlike the banking, airline and retail industries, this makes it much harder to convince a broad array of consumers to engage in a service that helps them organize, manage and share their medical records online.” Is this really a good analogy? Unlike the banking, airline, and retail industries, the health care industry doesn’t give you the tools along with the data you need to organize your health records online. Just because you have a PHR doesn’t mean your health records are available electronically. For most Americans, they are not.

If you have a Google Health account and actually have current health records there, here is what they are saying to do:

Microsoft on the other hand is staying committed to their PHR, HealthVault and want the Google Health customers. You can automatically transfer your personal records to Microsoft HealthVault which uses the Direct Project messaging protocols. Here are the instructions.

Here’s to a healthy New Year.