Google Health opens pandora box of PHR sharing

Summary:This makes patients, not doctors, the primary gatekeepers of their own health data, assuming your doctor lets you download your Electronic Health Record into the Google PHR.

Google Health has enabled sharing of Personal Health Records (PHRs), a move that may anger privacy advocates but which is necessary if we're to gain real benefits from PHRs.

(Pandora's Box, by Arthur Rackham, is available as a framed print at Art.Com.)

Sharing is as simple as entering the service with your GMail password and typing the e-mail address of whoever you want to share with. The link expires in 30 days, it's a read-only link, and you get a report on who looked at the report when.

The service has also added a print feature. You can print a wallet-sized list of your medications and allergies, or a letter sized version of your whole profile.

While some news reports have called this a "social feature," it's really much more. This means that if you trust your chiropractor you can give them your doctor's report. And if you've put in any chiropractic data, vice versa.

This makes patients, not doctors, the primary gatekeepers of their own health data, assuming your doctor lets you download your Electronic Health Record into the Google PHR.

Matthew Holt of The Health Care Blog gets it.

Anyone who’s used Google Docs (and that includes all of us working at Health 2.0) immediately gets addicted to sharing those spreadsheets and text documents with a wider team. It’s so easy, you just invite them to it, and then one day you wake up and you’re sharing hundreds of documents with everyone you work with and cannot imagine how you did it before. 

While noting that this sharing is more limited, Holt notes that doctors with Google IDs can now have their patients share data with them by simply e-mailing requests to patients on the system. (For now the requests must be renewed regularly.)

Since most of us have more than one caregiver (I've got a dentist, a chiropractor, and a pharmacist for starters) this means primary care doctors can also get a much broader view of what their patients are doing than ever before.

Pandora's Box, indeed.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Enterprise Software, Google, Health, Software

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.