Google Health Beta Is This The Next Privacy Horror Story?

Filed under: Industry News

google_logo_smGoogle Health is one of Google’s new information consolidation services but what does it really mean to keep your health information online?

We came across this service while doing a search for a disease that a young girl has and is asking for help with on Twitter. She has a special form of cancer and some philanthropist said if 15k people followed her he would donate some money for her bills. So after entering the name of the cancer in Google the first result was a Google Health link that explained what the disease was.

The ability to find info quickly was good. If google didn’t offer the definition some other popular website would have popped up and it would have taken a click or two just to get a basic definition of the illness.

Then we took a closer look at what Google Health is about and found its just a little bit scary.

The service is free and allows you to upload information or have outside websites fill your account with data… scary …

When you first start your account you setup your medical profile answering questions that you may be accustomed to answering when you visit a new doctor.

Then you are presented with the following

Google “we’ve partnered with hospitals, labs, and pharmacies to allow you to import your records and prescription history from health care providers that treat you.”

Well isn’t that special you have to wonder just how accurate the records keeping is. This past spring we had a dialysis company sending reports to our house with the correct address but the wrong person’s name. It took well over a month for the company to stop sending out private info to our home about someone we did not know and who did not show up in a telephone lookup for our town.

So, when these things are linked you can probably expect that a number of people will be receiving cross information. Meaning even if you don’t sign up for this service there is some chance although little but some chance your personal information could be leaked. Lets just hope you are dealing with someone willing to take a month to correct the mistake and not publish it online someplace.

The linking of information is a serious concern. If you have a medical situation that you want to keep private it will most certainly be impossible now under new Federal Laws.

You may want to get a second or third opinion about your care and when you do your first doctor will certainly know you are not trusting them. Believe me having grown up through three generations of medical professionals Doctors get pissed off when you do this.

Whats even worse is that now a doctor that has a large number of their patients asking for other opinions .. maybe because they SUCK and are part of a HMO plan will have everyone knowing what is going on but believe me again no action will be taken…

If doctors, medical professionals or related services are screwing up no one is going to care no one will be tracking any of it but you…

On the other hand everyone will have access to all of your information.

They will know all of the prescriptions you are taking or took in the past. They will know all of the services you have had to avail yourself of.  And they will know ALL OF IT whether they are your primary provider or someone you saw for 15 minutes for that sunburn you got while you were on vacation.

Whether it is google or another provider things are getting a little dangerous when it comes to real personal information.

Remember it won’t be just your doctors that have access to this information and there will be no uniform rules as to who may gain access within each organization. Your primary provider may force their employees to take classes and sign oaths of privacy while a teaching hospital may allow anyone who is enrolled in a medical class to access live data on millions of people.

Yea.. its gonna get a little crazy out there …

I am glad I get all my work done out of the back of a Van.