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Google Businesses The Internet Medicine

Google Health Opens To the Public 199

Posted by kdawson
from the take-two-aspirin-and-don't-call-me-ever dept.
Several readers noted that the limited pilot test of Google Health has ended, and Google is now offering the service to the public at large. Google Health allows patients to enter health information, such as conditions and prescriptions, find related medical information, and share information with their health care providers (at the patient's request). Information may be entered manually or imported from partnered health care providers. The service is offered free of charge, and Google won't be including advertising. The WSJ and the NYTimes provide details about Google's numerous health partners.
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Google Health Opens To the Public

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  • Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:15PM (#23480468) Journal
    I for one won't be using it while their terms of service explicitly states that HIPAA doesn't apply to Google.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      How do I opt-out?

      Maybe the laws need to be re-written.
      I can't imagine that Federal & State Law foresaw 3rd party control of medical files.
      • Exactly (Score:5, Informative)

        by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:40PM (#23480854) Homepage Journal
        You don't opt out. You have to sign up and opt in for them to get your records.

        I agree 100% with GP. I even wrote Google to that effect. Not that I expect them to do anything with my feedback other than send it to the bitbucket.

        This is a horrible, horrible precedent to set, allowing a 3rd party to have access to people's medical records without any protection under the law.

        HIPPA *does* need to be updated, immediately, to cover online databases.
        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          You don't opt out. You have to sign up and opt in for them to get your records.
          Where does their privacy policy say anything about that?
          If your medical provider decides to send your records to Google, AFAIK, there is jack squat you can do.

          The only place "opt-in" gets mentioned is on their page for "Third-Party Developer Policies".
          • by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:55PM (#23481126) Homepage Journal
            Your medical provider is covered by HIPPA and CANNOT release your records to a third party without your consent. When you go to a new doctor they generally make you sign something saying they can share it with your insurance company, who also cannot share it with Google without your consent.

            The way Google Health works is you give them your data and they store it.
        • by mazarin5 (309432)
          I'm not so sure that HIPPA needs an update. I wouldn't want my doctor entrusting my information to some random third party, but if they do, and that party is covered by HIPPA, then OK. However, if that party, such as google, isn't covered, then they can't.

          When it comes to myself submitting information to a third party, it should be on me to make sure that party is trusted. If I gave all my medical information to my crazy neighbor, I really shouldn't expect them to be held to the same standard as a trusted p
    • That's because... HIPAA doesn't apply to Google by nature of the law of HIPAA. You know absolutely nothing about the actual letter of HIPAA law by making a statement such as yours.
      • That's because... HIPAA doesn't apply to Google by nature of the law of HIPAA.
        That was... sort of the point.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Seoulstriker (748895)
          Google does not provide medical services, which is why they are not bound to the provisions of HIPAA. HIPPA is a regulation of privacy and portability for providers of medical services, not for companies that act as a storage medium for your personal health information. If people use Excel to store their medical records, will Microsoft somehow be responsible for complying with HIPAA? Of course not.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kabocox (199019) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:46PM (#23480980)
      I for one won't be using it while their terms of service explicitly states that HIPAA doesn't apply to Google.

      I don't trust Google. I'm of the opinion that companies have to obey the rules/laws of government. I'd rather "trust" the government if they said that HIPAA doesn't apply to Google rather than Google saying that HIPAA doesn't apply to them. There is a part of me that actually hopes that Google gets slapped by the government for violating HIPAA.
      • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Informative)

        by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:55PM (#23481128) Homepage Journal
        Okay, here is the government telling you that HIPAA doesn't apply to Google [hhs.gov]. Google isn't a health care provider, nor is it a health care insurance plan, nor is it a health care clearinghouse, by the legal definitions of those terms (check the law if you like), so, no, HIPAA most certainly does not apply to Google or any other company or entity providing a similar service.
        • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RealityThreek (534082) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @05:35PM (#23482936)
          Why isn't Google a health care clearinghouse?

          Health care clearinghouses include billing services, repricing companies, community health management information systems, and value-added networks and switches if these entities perform clearinghouse functions.
          I'm certainly no expert but I do speak english. Is Google not a "community health management information system"?
          • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:39PM (#23483938)


            Google is NOT a healthcare clearinghouse (you might reasonably think it meets the definition - I used to think it would as well, but covered clearinghouses are directly linked to care providers, the definition does not cover third party service providers (of medical devices, Customized off the shelf software etc.).

            Regarding HIPAA applicability to google: any HIPAA CE (Covered Entity, which includes most of your health care providers who also use or maintain electronic patient data) MUST include terms in a contractual relationship with a BA (Business Associate - anyone the CE does business with involving patient data) which mirror HIPAA requirements (this is the "Business Associate Rule").

            YOU can release your records to Google, this would involve NO HIPAA issues.

            If your Primary Care Provider is a CE (likely) and they contract with Google (as a health partner etc.) then the terms of that contract MUST include HIPAA protections (i.e. the CE must require, contractually, that the BA meet the same HIPAA requirements which the CE is subject to).
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Koiu Lpoi (632570)
            Neither am I an expert, but my knowledge [answers.com] of clearinghouses says that they need to do things like move checks, money transfers, and whatnot. I don't think just "storing information" qualifies, unfortunately.
      • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ChristopherEddie (935213) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:31PM (#23483826)
        In times like these, I would trust Google over the government ANY DAY! I'd rather have a creative, for-profit company actually try to make a difference than have the government dick around with tax dollars that companies like Google will end up generating anyway.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Informative)

      by jdray (645332) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:55PM (#23481134) Homepage Journal
      For those who don't want to go digging for the crunchy bits:

      If you create, transmit, or display health or other information while using Google Health, you may provide only information that you own or have the right to use. When you provide your information through Google Health, you give Google a license to use and distribute it in connection with Google Health and other Google services. However, Google may only use health information you provide as permitted by the Google Health Privacy Policy, your Sharing Authorization, and applicable law. Google is not a "covered entity" under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the regulations promulgated thereunder ("HIPAA"). As a result, HIPAA does not apply to the transmission of health information by Google to any third party.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by fluffman86 (1006119)
      Correct, HIPAA doesn't apply to Google, but you should definitely read the differences between Google's Privacy Policy and HIPAA.

      http://www.google.com/health_hipaa.html [google.com]

      Looks to me like Google is more private than HIPAA.
    • by Qzukk (229616)
      Your doctors won't be using it either, as the terms of service are pretty much incompatible with legal requirements of any real medical record. For instance, doctors are required by various states' laws to maintain their records for some number of years after you are no longer an active patient which is incompatible with the ability to "revoke" the doctor's access to your record, and looking at the developers' TOS [google.com], this revocation power is required to be supported in any product that interfaces with Google
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by scamper_22 (1073470)
      I'm Canadian, and I signed in to Google Health just to check it out.
      I find the privacy concerns a bit off beat.

      I do online banking.
      I file my taxes online...

      When is there such sensitivity about my health data. As far I see, it is password protected, and as long as the data is not shared with people outside my 'approved list', I have no issue with it. Google might eventually adopt HIPAA, but I seriously doubt Google will be freely sharing your private information with health insurance providers without your
      • by whoever57 (658626)

        When is there such sensitivity about my health data.

        Because healthcare is privately funded and managed in the USA. You don't want to be turned down for a job because of something in your health history, for example. Even in Canada, you probably don't want to be turned down for life insurance because of a history of disease in your family. You may have to disclose this information in order to get life insurance, but you probably want to be very sure that the insurance company has no more information than y

    • really, others -will-, for whatever reason. Perhaps it's a $100 discount given on their treatment if they allow their info to be shared with google - perhaps it's free medication for a month... who knows, who cares, others -will- participate.

      And then what happens?
      Say your dad participates. Google now has info on your dad. They find that he has a heart condition, and that this is hereditary.
      Google also knows about you. It knows through social networking that your dad is, well, your dad.
      Now insurance comp
  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Oxy the moron (770724)

    I'm quite torn here. On the one hand, having so much information readily available in one spot is rather exciting. This is especially true if Google doesn't just cave in to "Big Pharma" and allows you to see "alternative" or "herbal" remedies for prescriptions or OTC drugs you have entered.

    OTHO, Google having all that information about my medical condition in one place is somewhat disturbing... Aside from rational or irrational fears about Google having this information, aren't there HIPPA issues to be

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thermian (1267986)
      What bothers me is that all this is built on top of tcp/ip, and that is inherently insecure.
      Given that there exists hardware to inspect packets for p2p traffic, how hard would it be to for a person of unpleasant intent to get hold of some of that and start mining 'encrypted' health information.

      I can see it now, 'want to get health insurance again? Pay us x dollars or we expose condition y to your health insurance provider.'

      Come to think of it, all they'd need to do is pretend they had the info, someone woul
      • I just joined, but have not entered any data - it runs using HTTPS, not HTTP
      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:43PM (#23480916) Journal

        I can see it now, 'want to get health insurance again? Pay us x dollars or we expose condition y to your health insurance provider.'
        Many States have laws that prevent an insurer from charging sick people a higher premium.
        In other words, if you are in their State, you have to follow their rules, and their rules say your price isn't affected by "condition y".

        On a related note, I read an article [slate.com] stating that part of a McCain proposal would allow insurance companies to change their legal residency for the purpose of using another State's insurance rules. In other words, a New York insurance company can pay taxes in Arizona and use their insurance rules.
      • Given that there exists hardware to inspect packets for p2p traffic, how hard would it be to for a person of unpleasant intent to get hold of some of that and start mining 'encrypted' health information.

        It's true that one can identify encrypted protocols by doing traffic analysis: take the mean and variance of packet size and delay in both directions, and you got 8 dimensions; look at those 8 for a set of known protocols, and find the nearest match for your unknown stream; also, the number of similar-looking connections could be used if you can watch that (say, you're the ISP or otherwise close to the sender).

        However, there's a difference between saying "this is bittorrent" and "this is {wow-update.exe,ub

      • by Niten (201835)

        What bothers me is that all this is built on top of tcp/ip, and that is inherently insecure. Given that there exists hardware to inspect packets for p2p traffic, how hard would it be to for a person of unpleasant intent to get hold of some of that and start mining 'encrypted' health information.

        You might want to do some reading on TCP/IP and on SSL/TLS encryption. P2P deep packet inspection techniques do not magically override TLS data privacy where it's used, and you can be sure that Google will be using it for this.

        That's not to say I approve of Google Health in the least, but the reasons you stated above are complete nonsense.

      • What bothers me is that all this is built on top of tcp/ip, and that is inherently insecure.

        Tcp/ip isn't inherently insecure, it's not inherently anything except a transport protocol. The protocol you mean is https, which is the primary protocol you use to make anything secure when submitting data from a client to a webserver.

        Given that there exists hardware to inspect packets for p2p traffic, how hard would it be to for a person of unpleasant intent to get hold of some of that and start mining 'encrypted'

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:37PM (#23480814) Journal
      And I don't want them caving into "big infomercial" sleazeballs that tell use phrases like "Big Pharma" to try and persuade potential customers to buy their scientifically unproven snake oil instead.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Uncle Focker (1277658) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:49PM (#23481040)

      This is especially true if Google doesn't just cave in to "Big Pharma" and allows you to see "alternative" or "herbal" remedies for prescriptions or OTC drugs you have entered.
      Ugh, I hope Google Health doesn't become such a nexus of snake oil salesmen. Hopefully they will have minimum requirements for the scientific accuracy of medical claims to weed out this nonsense. If you want to be peddled placebos, just stick to Kevin Trudeau and his ilk's infomercials. We don't need Google Health to be infected with such a taint.
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

        by kestasjk (933987) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:04PM (#23481322) Homepage
        I had a cold, had some herbal medicine, a few days later my cold was gone. Explain that!
        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

          by Uncle Focker (1277658) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:10PM (#23481438)

          I had a cold, had some herbal medicine, a few days later my cold was gone.
          I had a cold, didn't take a placebo, a few days later my cold was also gone.

          Explain that!
          Your immune system did it's job. That's what it's there for.
          • I was about to say "Geez, can't take a joke?" but then I noticed you're sitting at +5 Insightful, so you must not be alone.
          • by nostriluu (138310)
            I had a headache, took some herbal medicine (aspirin), a few minutes later my headache was gone.

            Explain that!
          • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

            by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoi@DEBIANgmail.com minus distro> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:40PM (#23483958)
            Your sense of humor called, it's enjoying palm beach with the kids.
            • wow, His sense of humor sucks so bad, even on vacation it isn't doing anything funny. It should be installing banana peels in creme pie factories, or installing fake dog crap at a germaphobe conference.
          • by nobodyman (90587)
            Seeing as how you failed to get the parent post's joke, I'm starting to wonder if you were also oblivious to the interpretations of the name "Uncle Focker".
        • by kwerle (39371)

          I had a cold, had some herbal medicine, a few days later my cold was gone. Explain that!
          Man. I have mod points. If only there was
          +1 Sarcastic

          'Cause it's not quite funny, and it is certainly flamebait (for the challenged).

          Slashdot sucks.
      • by Urza9814 (883915)
        Bah. For anything drug-related, you'll find hundreds of big-pharma studies saying their pills are the only thing that'll cure you, and hundreds of other studies saying their pills will do nothing but kill ya. Personally, I love big pharma...but only for recreational purposes. When I actually wanna get better, I do it the good 'ol fashioned way - rest, tea, herbs, and a bit of amateur meditation. Of course, natural cures doesn't always mean weird plant roots pills and such (Though Valerian Root is amazing st
        • I never said that the pharmaceutical companies where the saints of the earth and they clearly aren't. But the difference between them and the Kevin Trudeaus of the world is they actually have to prove the effectiveness and safety of their drugs. On the other hand, the "herbalists" and "naturalists" get to sell millions of overpriced placebos in an unregulated market and rake in billions annually. If you want to line their pockets ever more, have fun with that. I'll stick to things that have a scientific
          • by Urza9814 (883915)
            Well, personally I fully agree with your assessment of Kevin Trudeau. That guy's an idiot. But Big Pharma's just as bad. Yes, they have the money to run tests and trials and see what happens - but that doesn't mean they actually give a damn about what their drugs do, as I think is pretty clear from all the problems caused by Ambien (just picking on that one because I know it fairly well...I'm sure there are plenty of other examples.)

            Most of the herbal remedies are based on things that have been used for tho
    • This is especially true if Google doesn't just cave in to "Big Pharma" and allows you to see "alternative" or "herbal" remedies for prescriptions or OTC drugs you have entered.

      Big Pharma as opposed to... alternative, herbal remedies? Give me a fucking break. The "alternaaative" and "herbaaal" industries generate billions each friggin' year.

      I don't know about you, but if I'm dying of cancer one day - likely, since I'm a damn chainsmoker - I want my meds to come from people that spent years studying and have letters before or after their names, not some hairy-legged, lesbian shebeast that reeks of patchouli oil... waving a damn dead bush around and chanting about my chakras being

  • Uh oh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by getto man d (619850) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:16PM (#23480478)
    I can see "Need Liver or Kidneys?" coming about in the recommended searches.
  • Should I be afraid yet?
  • Let's enter, Chest Pain, Left Arm Numb, Smells of Toast! Ohhh I can earn 950 a day working at home... Let's click that... hey I won a free Ipod... today is my luc. *beeeeeeeeeeeeep*
  • All people needing viagra will be notified of cheap imported viagra by Google, and the spammers will lose all their market!

    Just wait till you hear about the plan they have to go after the Nigerian 409 scammers.

  • This reads like a joke.
  • Google Organ Search (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JeremyGNJ (1102465) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:23PM (#23480628)
    I'm getting ready to start googling for an organ doner when my liver finally gives up on me.
  • Disclaimer Needed (Score:2, Interesting)

    Hopefully people will be smart enough to go visit a real doctor, rather than listen to the internet about all their life's little concerns. Sometimes symptoms may be generic to multiple conditions and self diagnosis can do more harm than help. Maybe this will set Darwinism to work at it's full potential.
    • Re:Disclaimer Needed (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kimos (859729) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <todhsals.somik>> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:21PM (#23481678) Homepage
      In my Canadian province we have a government funded public health nurse phone line line. It exists for people to phone in and speak to a nurse about whatever health problem they're having, and the nurse can give advice on over the counter medication or home treatments, but will always differ to "go see a doctor" as needed. They keep a record of your calls so you can follow up on advice given and changes in your condition. It's really a very good service.

      It exists to alleviate line ups in walk-in clinics and emergency rooms by keeping some of the people with less serious problems from having to go down and see a doctor. This service looks like it will serve a similar purpose.
    • on the other hand, many times doctors aren't very good at seeing the problem either. After all, they can't feel your pain, they can only take your description. Resources that allow you to educate yourself a bit so that you have a proper background and know better *what* to tell and ask your doctor are helpful. At least they always have been for me. I'd much rather go to massage therapy to deal with this nerve problem I'm having than have surgery or a cortisone injection (yes, the ortho doctor, despite n
  • by pha7boy (1242512) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:27PM (#23480676)
    so, google will have your surfing profile, your financial information, tons of images of you, your house, your friends, your networks, and how will add to it your health information. You know, Big Brother can be a government, but it can also be a corporation. Even one that claims not to do any evil.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:31PM (#23480724) Homepage

    Yes, Google Health supports advertising. Spamming, even. Read the developer guidelines. [google.com] Google just doesn't run the ads themselves. That's outsourced to "affiliates".

    There are some rules for affiliates, like "one spam per week per user" and "no popups or popunders". Other than that, consumers are fair game. In particular, affiliates are not prohibited from using Google health data to target ads, as long as they "disclose" that somewhere in their "privacy policy". The policy says "Only use Google Health user data for the purposes disclosed in your privacy policy, and obtain users' opt-in consent if personally identifiable health data will be used for ad targeting." So a bit of fine print, and the affiliate 0wns your health history.

    It's a typical slimeball tactic - pretend to be the good guy, encourage "affiliates" to do the bad stuff.

    • by dmr001 (103373) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:52PM (#23481096)
      Oy vey, you folks need to take a step back. The above guidelines refer to other service providers that users can opt in to and share their history with. Google is simply limiting their ability to annoy you, should you choose to opt in.

      And, Google isn't protecting your information via HIPAA because it can't - it's not a "covered entity" under the definition [hhs.gov] outlined in the law. (That is, they aren't a health provider, billing clearinghouse, or health plan.) Instead, they provide the Google Health Privacy Policy [google.com], which seems pretty reasonable. Like HIPAA, it allows them to disclose information when it seems like the government (US, in this case, as that's where the service is limited to) compels it. Before you get hot and bothered, HIPAA allows this too - it's how we tell get to CPS about abused children, for example.

      I'm not new here, but I'm used to Slashdot readers being somewhat more informed before having a fit. As a covered entity myself (I'm a physician), I look forward to the day when the patients who come in saying they doubled the pink pills but lost the yellow ones they took for that surgery to remove that thigamajig have a hope of a secure information repository to clarify their history, and potentially save their bacon.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Uncle Focker (1277658)

        but I'm used to Slashdot readers being somewhat more informed before having a fit.
        Since when did this ever happen? I think you're making stuff up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        sorry, but I can't trust a poster who starts out with 'oy vey' and ends with '...bacon'.

        pick one and be consistent.
    • I'm still trying to figure out their angle on this. I don't know enough about the health care industry to say yet. What I DO know is what Google says in their FAQ [google.com]:

      1. Why is Google offering this product?
      A: It's what we do...

      6. If it's free, how does Google make money off Google Health?
      ...There are no ads in Google Health. Our primary focus is providing a good user experience and meeting our users' needs.

      So they're just being nice guys I guess.

      What I also found is... Health Care is a $2 Trillion i [zdnet.com]

      • by EMeta (860558)
        Google's stated purpose is to "catalog the world's information." Health statistics are a lot of data that is possibly in the least searchable format imaginable: legally sealed handwritten charts. By in large, doctors have no access to population-scale data, and have to spend amazing amounts of money to find information on that scale. This is extremely valuable, and some people's privacy is less important to them then a cure for a seemingly random series of symptoms.
  • by jonpublic (676412) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:35PM (#23480772)
    I am dealing with a rare side effect from a fluoroquinolone, (think cipro, levaquin) called peripheral neuropathy. I plugged the antibiotic into google health and the side effect was not listed on the package insert. While its good to have drug interactions listed, lots of people have side effects from drugs and they need to be explicitly spelled out, not hiding in a sub menu.

    I know for a fact that there is explicit warnings on the packages about this particular reaction and I'm livid it isn't warning about it on the package insert in google. Especially since it can be permanent.

    I've racked up a couple thousand dollars in medical bills already from this side effect, and it was a pain to get doctors to admit it happened until I went to a major university hospital. At that hospital they diagnosed me right away and basically said I'd have to wait it out.

    If you are curious, basically I couldn't walk for over a week, terrible joint pain for months along with numbness in my hands, face, and body. Its a known side effect with this class. Rare, but known.

  • by kiscica (89316) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:42PM (#23480906) Homepage
    6. If it's free, how does Google make money off Google Health?
    Much like other Google products we offer, Google Health is free to anyone who uses it. There are no ads in Google Health. Our primary focus is providing a good user experience and meeting our users' needs.


    I've heard enough. I don't know what their long-term plan for monetizing Google Health is, and I don't really care now. I don't trust Google enough to consider even for a second entrusting my health care information to them (and I say this as someone who has thought very highly of the company since the beginning). And their weasly answer to the obvious question above, I think, justifies my mistrust.

    Every for-profit company's primary focus is - making a profit. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with this, and the ideal situation arises when "providing a good user experience and meeting [...] users' needs" is aligned with the profit motive.

    So why they can't be honest about their motivations in undertaking an expensive, large-scale project like this -- whatever those motivations are -- instead of trying to make us believe that they're doing it "out of the goodness of their hearts?" All their mealy-mouthedness accomplishes is to raise the suspicion that they've got something nasty up their sleeves. And that ensures that many users, including me, will never entrust their most private of private data to Google.
  • by LM741N (258038) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:48PM (#23481006)
    Thats the service I want to see offered. With the posting of photos and movie clips allowed. They can build a virtual community of porno providers and consumers. Wait- thats YouTube.
  • After the way Google ratted out that guy who drew an unflattering picture of some Hindu saint and he got beaten and forced to eat out of the same bowl he'd used as a toilet, I think I'll pass on Google Health.

    Having them turn any information I was stupid enough to give them over to an insurance company, cop, nosy government official or random thug on the street wouldn't be all that good for my health.

    Let's see an iron-clad, carved-in-stone, sue-for-millions commitment from them and maybe we can talk.

  • so the first paragraph of the EULA:

    I hereby authorize Google to share the health information contained in my Google Health profile(s) in its entirety, to only those entities and individuals I designate, for the purpose of providing me with medical care and for the purpose of sharing my information with others that I choose.
    • When you provide your information through Google Health, you give Google a license to use and distribute it in connection with Google Health and other Google services.
    • Weasel words... (Score:3, Interesting)

      These documents and subdocuments are so full of weasel words, Google could practically do anything they want. Example:

      However, Google may only use health information you provide as permitted by the Google Health Privacy Policy, your Sharing Authorization, and applicable law.

      "YOU did not provide this information. Your doctor's office provided the information, so it is exempt from these policies."

      See? It took me just a quick glance to find a huge conditional that is subject to interpretation. Don't think that
  • I'm waiting for someone to start defending with these gems:

    "Your confidential information is and always will be secure and treated with respect."
    "The benefits of big databases are worth the risks."
    "Trust us."
  • Having your records online and available anywhere is great, but also requires that you trust the third party hosting them. This is one of the hurdles that hosted software companies have to overcome to get companies to sign up. In the case of something like Salesforce.com, you give up control of your CRM data, pay them a fee and hope that they don't get hacked or decide to start selling your data under the table.

    This issue gets thorny when you deal with personal data like medical records. Insurance companies
  • by chord.wav (599850) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:46PM (#23482120) Journal
    Remember that social site that fooled you to get your gmail account and password so you can "invite" all your friends? Remember that someone told you not to do so because is wasn't safe to make your password public but you didn't listen?

    Well, now you just got a shinny new Penile Prosthesis Insertion - Non-inflatable AND a Penile Prosthesis Insertion- Inflatable.

    Have a nice day.
  • Maybe patients can bolster privacy by inserting legal terms of access [blogspot.com] (like an end-user license agreement) into the content of their electronic medical records. The idea is not legal advice, just something to think about. --Ben -- Sample terms for public discussion: http://hack-igations.blogspot.com/2008/02/some-fear-law-will-not-accord-adequate.html [blogspot.com]
  • Enough with the HIPAA scare. Most of these PHR vendors privacy policies are STRONGER than HIPAA and are governed by the FTC which is (IMHO) MUCH stronger than HIPAA.
  • ...digital leakage...
  • by TCook (66808)
    It would be nice if they provided a way to export my health information to their CCR/G format so I could save it locally.

    I also find it interesting that they are ready, willing and able to share my information with anyone THEY chose.

    From the Agreement:

    '11.2 You agree that this licence includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection wit
  • by ivi (126837) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @07:28PM (#23484708)
    After [Queensland] Australia's & other "Doctor Death" tragedies (in which doctors' many errors have left patients much worse off, or dead...) and other situations, in which doctors sexually abuse or just undulu fondle patients, as part of their "treatment" - a partly public online data base might be just what we need to help find & eradicate "bad" medical professionals.

    Let Google Health be modified to compile results of medical procedures - by the practitioner(s), who perform them - and compare longer-term performance with expected failure & complication rates across the hospital...

    and then compare each hospital's rates to "best practice" - ...ie, to see if practitioners and/or hospitals need retraining or further investigation.

    We could also get very useful (even valuable) data on risks of working / living in certain areas, eg, by post code... if correlations between location and diseases are available to all via Google Health.

    Mapping sources of pollutions & overlaying incidence rate contour lines onto the same maps, might affect property prices... giving folks another [if economic] reason to cleanup the mess before people would move to a new development/location.

    Gov't-held data is already held & analyzed, around the world, to support such analyses; eg:

    While in South Australia, attending a Data Mining seminar (atop the EDS building in Adelaide), I heard some public sector IT managers report how Data Mining - even in -existing- Public Health Service databases - showed useful patterns of disease occuramces vs postcode...
    but another public sector IT manager was quick to poit out that such results would not be made known to members of the public.

    (Tell me: Does this kind of data hiding happen in such places as Sweden? I hope not... but give me the facts & some URLs where they are available; yes, some of us read Swedish here... ;-)

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra

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