Where does Google Health go from here?

Users with installed Personal Health Records (PHRs) can already get weekly alerts relevant to their conditions. They can also examine an "immunizations dashboard," comparing the shots they've gotten to those the CDC recommends.

Google logo with DNA strandGoogle Health is going after all the industry's stakeholders and will let the open source process deliver applications, based on personal health records, which may or may not be free. Google and some of its Google Health partners called ZDNet soon after participating in a Webcast for a "factory tour" of Google search which included a media update on the service. As Google product manager Dr. Roni Zeiger told ZDNet, "We're not just an application. We're a platform. We have an API." The API can be used to create tools which are now free, but may later be used on a for-pay basis. Users with installed Personal Health Records (PHRs) can already get weekly alerts relevant to their conditions. They can also examine an "immunizations dashboard," comparing the shots they've gotten to those the CDC recommends. Cleveland Clinic CIO Dr. Martin Harris put 1,600 people into the Google Health pilot, and found they didn't need to import all their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) data to gain benefits from the system.

"The most common transaction we need to improve is the collection of the medication information and some simple diagnostic testing."

That's why it's key, he said, that drug store chains like Walgreens and Longs Drugs are already signed to export their records to patients using Google Health.

Michael Laddon, senior vice president for Longs, called the arrangement with Google an "integration partnership" and described current efforts to create PHRs as "fragmented." He hopes it will allow pharmacists to limit unfavorable drug interactions through greater knowledge.

Google Health product marketing manager Missy Krasner, who was interviewed by ZDNet at HIMSS, said the company is talking to many stakeholders beyond the drug chains, clinics, and Web sites who are signed on now as partners. "We currently are in discussions with all stakeholders in health care, including employers and organizations." The number of partners "in the pipeline" far exceeds what is currently shown on the Web site. So watch this space.