Google pulls the plug on Google Health

July 6, 2011

Google Health is ailing?and the end is near. But electronic health records may be breathing life into the mobile personal health record market. Those technologies increase patient engagement, which is a benefit in both the Patient Centered Medical Home and Accountable Care Organization models of care delivery.

Google Health is ailing-and the end is near. But electronic health records (EHRs) may be breathing life into the mobile personal health record market.

Saying that “we weren’t able to create the impact we wanted with Google Health,” Google will stop operating its personal health system on January 1, 2012, according to a blog posting by Google Health Product Manager Aaron Brown.

Users will be able to access their personal health data through January 1, 2013, and can download, print, or transfer the data into “other personal health tools, such as Microsoft HealthVault.”   

Go back to the current issue of eConsult.

Microsoft announced in late May that HealthVault is now mobile, with the Windows Phone 7 version already released and the Apple and Android versions expected this summer.

Sean Nolan, chief architect and general manager of Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, says in his blog that the mobile format “makes complete sense for health, where virtually all meaningful activity happens away from our laptops: office visits, emergencies, workouts, daily glucose testing, sleeping, you name it.”

For primary care physicians, the lesson here is that patients are not “interested in a digital filing cabinet for their records. What they are interested in is what that data can do for them,” says Chilmark Research’s Managing Partner John Moore. The mobile format encourages development of applications that allow patients to manage chronic diseases, make appointments, check their formularies to save money, receive reminders to take their medications, and perform other tasks.

“It’s clear that healthcare works best and costs least when the patient/individual is a partner in their care with their healthcare provider,” says Dave Chase, Avado.com chief executive officer. The Patient Centered Medical Home and Accountable Care Organization model both benefit significantly from increased patient engagement, which mobile technologies make easier.

And, consumers are willing to spend money on health-related technologies-as much as $13.6 billion according to a recent Price Waterhouse survey. As more health information becomes digital with adoption of EHRs, and mobile applications proliferate, primary care physicians have an opportunity to encourage patients to track their health the way they do their favorite sports team or their financial information.

 “Engaging the consumer/patient most often begins at the doctor’s office,” Moore says.