Google Health Ending – Not Having Broad Impact Expected

June 24, 2011

Google HealthGoogle announced today on its official blog that it is retiring or phasing out Google Health. Stating that it’s original goal was to “our goal was to create a service that would give people access to their personal health and wellness information” using their focus on the consumer, they found a lack of the broad adoption they expected. I was there at HIMSS in 2008 when Google Health was announced by Eric Schmit and Roni Zeiger doing a demo.

They admit that “There has been adoption among certain groups of users like tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts.” But not enough adoption to make it worthwhile to keep the shop open. They are provide means for users to export their data by January 1, 2012.

Already bloggers are busy speculating on why Google Health failed to gain traction.

  • Not understanding the healthcare market, especially the challenges of working with payers
  • Lack of partnerships with physicians
  • Not partnering with device companies as early as Microsoft did
  • Lack of incentives to use it
  • Lack of a means to securely communicate with providers
  • Not being┬átethered┬áto EMRs with a few exceptions like Cleveland Clinic.

The reasons can go on and on. But overall, how widely have PHRs been adopted. Seen initially as a disruptive technology, but lack of trust and understand of its value by consumers has led to sluggish adoption overall. How successful is Microsoft HealthVault, Dossia and others? How about PHRs sponsored by payers? It appears that healthcare consumers are stronger adopters of social media and wellness tools and not PHRs.

So where do we go from here? Even the ePatient movement and Quantified Self are not generally strong adopters. If Google Health is worth saving, how about asking Google to hand it over to an open source community to maintain and enhance. In some cases, open source projects can gain more traction that productions by large Silicon Valley companies.

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2 Responses to “Google Health Ending – Not Having Broad Impact Expected”

  1. Will the stage 2 requirements for EHR meaningful use take the place of PHRs? From my understanding, the suggested Stage 2 topics are primarily geared to patient access to information.

  2. Online PHR will work only if it starts in the doctor’s office. There is no incentive for users to spend their time on a tool like this.

    Check out http://www.pinkwhalehealthcare.com/ as an attempt to bridge the doctor’s office and the patient.

    Sai

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