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Google’s PHR Challenge

by Fred Fortin

At the Health 2.0 Conference held yesterday in San Francisco, Missy Krasner, Google’s Product Marketing Manager, opined that, while they were doing a better job at giving people more accurate and medically relevant results in their health related searches, “consumers are still having a hard time trying to sort through what is trustworthy.” This lack of trust is affecting the adoption of electronic personal health records (PHR) since consumers are still not ready to put all their health information on line — although we are still at the beginning of the adoption process, she says.

And there’s one more thing.

“Just having a safe place for a patient to build an online medical record isn’t enough, you actually have to give the consumer something to do with that information. They have to be able to activate on it, and they have to be able to look for other experts and other customized services to help them to figure out what to do with that information,” Krasner says.

Activate? I’m sure that the health care market place will provide innumerable ways — for a fee — that consumers will be able to “activate” their personal health information. And it may not be all that bad or superficial. But there is something about the search for this busy work that feels strangely narcissistic and, frankly, a bit decadent. I’m imagining that tremendous resources will be wasted to discover another set of useless computer obsessions that keep us in the chair, looking at the screen and avoiding doing the things we need to do to stay healthy.

Maybe I’m being too critical. Yet, I remain a bit skeptical when a marketing rep speaks for Google Health where once the intriguing Adam Bosworth (who has left Google) used to speak.


11 Comments »

  WHCB: “Google’s PHR Challenge” « ajfortin.com wrote @ September 22nd, 2007 at 1:35 am

[…] my entire post over at the World Health Care Blog. Posted in Healthcare, New Media, […]

  ICMCC Articles » Blog Archive » Google’s PHR Challenge wrote @ September 22nd, 2007 at 2:07 am

[…] on line — although we are still at the beginning of the adoption process, she says.” Article Fred Fortin, World Health Care Blog, 22 September […]

  80n wrote @ September 22nd, 2007 at 6:50 am

I wonder if what Krasner means by “activate on it” is the need to make Google’s PHR site sticky? If users don’t keep coming back to the site on a regular basis then there’s no money in it for Google.

  Renata wrote @ September 22nd, 2007 at 11:30 am

I know both Adam, a true visionary — and Missy. Despite different skillsets and backgrounds — they both have played a pivotal role in taking what Dr. Brailer and The Markle Foundation pioneered to a place where CONSUMERS/CAREGIVERS can begin to fully participate and adopt new technologies in a proactive way. Google is the bridge for CONSUMERS/CAREGIVERS to fully participate as peers with the medical/clinical establishment(s) — in making informed healthcare decisions as the managers they already are in other areas of modern life. Adam’s vision has established a business baseline and, simultaneously promoted an IDENTITY for consumers as CAREGIVER MANAGERS from which to navigate the healthcare online ecosystem. Marissa and Missy will now manage the execution and market/educate CONSUMERS/CAREGIVERS. There is a role for BOTH the Adam Bosworths and Missy Krasners — and most importantly — Google, as we elevate CONSUMERS/CAREGIVERS to full participation in this new world (healthcare) order. Thank you Adam, Missy…and Google…for transitioning, in a little more than a year, the identity of CONSUMERS/CAREGIVERS from subordinates to managers. No other healthcare portal has effected that RESULT across-the-board. Now — NEXT PHASE.

  Pat Knowd wrote @ September 22nd, 2007 at 1:44 pm

Online patienmt medical records will happen consumer advocates not withstanding. There is already transparency of medical information but just not at the patient level.

  Steven Hacker, MD wrote @ September 23rd, 2007 at 10:41 am

Fred,
Your cynicism and skepticism of Google and any one else for that matter is valid. Trust will come as companies demonstrate reliability, security , sensitivity and interoperability. At PassportMD we have been doing this and continue to innovate opportunities for both physicians and consumers that go well beyond our personal health record service.
The technology has marched ahead much quicker than the user’s acceptance of it in this venue. Although cliche, it is simply “just a matter of time”, as a physician, patient, healthcare consumer, and health care entrepeneur, I can vouch for this from every perspective.

Steven M Hacker, MD
Founder & CEO
PassportMD, Inc.

  Renata wrote @ September 23rd, 2007 at 11:58 am

The medical/clinical establishment moves at an expensive and glacial pace healthcare consumers and the Nation can no longer afford. Everything is just a matter of time. Leadership is what is needed. Google’s focus on this area has elevated the entire discussion — and, elevated the consumer to a peer position in the discussion where we rightfully belong. Google is a for-profit company and not the only health care entrepeneur focusing on this area — to make money. Google will speed up the glacial pace of adoption across-the-board and be a game changer — as they have already done so in other areas. I hope they — and we — profit by doing well and doing good — and collaborating. Skepticism/cynicism have been the drivers for too long. Adam/Missy/Google re-focused (leadership?) the more than 10 year old web/healthcare community on the possibility of a new way to consumer adoption of new technologies — whereby CONSUMERS have an identity as empowered/informed managers and navigate from that identification/identity. As the preemiment SEARCH conduit for consumers for healthcare information, it is totally appropriate Google assume a leadership role and promote adoption of Health2.0 technologies. Now — it is up to the ecosystem of healthcare information companies who also wish to profit and drive the new world order — to EARN the trust of consumers who will be drivers. This is a wonderful discussion to continue during the next Health2.0 conferences. WHO is the consumer in this new paradigm??? Patient? Manager? Google and Yahoo! both understand the consumer has several complex identities and successful/adoptable information media that succeed going forward, as the overlay/interface for the Health2.0 technologies, will have to address the consumer audience is not monolithic. Adoption will be driven by companies who succeed in addressing this complexity as consumers assume greater roles/responsibilities and management of technologies. Google/Yahoo! (and the pharmas) understand this is also a marketing discussion. Perhaps the next conference will bring in media/marketing professionals as a discussion panel. Consumers need an emotional quotient in messaging in order for adoption to accelerate. Relevancy and meaning….as well as trust.

  Steven Hacker, MD wrote @ September 24th, 2007 at 8:17 am

A rising tide elevates all boats.

  steve barnell, md wrote @ September 24th, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Yes, well utility is an issue as well…. to be quite frank I’m an advocate of online PHR’s.. but they have to offer some utility.. just typing in information.. Consumers don’t trust big brother and the perception that their information will be spread across the internet. Physicians don’t trust patient input.
Seeing how often patients loose EVRYTHING, good luck with USB keys and datacards. Another thing to get lost, yet another barrier to information.

  David Demers wrote @ September 27th, 2007 at 8:42 am

It’s not about the REport it’s about the SUPport. Consumers are already innundated with information. Three things are key, of which the PHR is a part:
1. A friend, trusted clinician or personal coach who can be a mentor for change.
2. Small scale steps towards health. Get into action as quickly as possible.
3. Immediate feedback on biometrics and health status (the PHR).

1 & 2 are far more important than 3.

[…] We’ve been anxiously watching Google and Microsoft developments into the healthcare arena. Just a few weeks ago, both Vince and I reported on Microsoft’s new HealthVault product. Fred also had a nice post on Google’s PHR challenge. […]

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