Monday, May 19, 2008

The Launch of Google Health

BIDMC is now live with Google Health. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the Google Health Advisory Council and have not accepted any payments from Google for my advisory role. BIDMC is also working with Microsoft Health Vault and Dossia.

I'm now at Google Headquarters in Mountain View with the Google Health team - Roni, Missy, Maneesh, Jerry etc. and several dozen reporters.

Here's the functionality we've launched.

When a user logs into Google Health and clicks on Import Health Records - the following choices appear

Cleveland Clinic
Minute Clinic/CVS
Quest Laboratories

which are all early integrators with Google Health. At BIDMC, we have enhanced our hospital and ambulatory systems such that a patient, with their consent and control, can upload their BIDMC records to Google Health in a few keystrokes. There is no need to manually enter this health data into Google's personal health record, unlike earlier PHRs from Dr. Koop, HealthCentral and Revolution Health. Once these records are uploaded, patients receive drug/drug interaction advice, drug monographs, and disease reference materials. They can subscribe to additional third party applications, share their records if desired, and receive additional health knowledge services.

A few important notes.

Security and privacy are foundational to Google Health. The privacy policy, with oversight from the Google Health Advisory Council, stipulates that data will never be transfered, sold, mined or released without specific consent of the patient. Patients completely control the content and may remove it any time. This is similar to the Microsoft Health Vault policy.

Security standards include use of certificates, IP address restrictions controlling partner transmissions in and out of Google health, no caching of health data to the desktop (Google desktop will not index Google Health pages) and encrypted transmission.

The data standards underlying Google interoperability include a proprietary form of the Continuity of Care Record, called CCR/G. Google has committed to supporting the standards which have been recognized by HHS Secretary Leavitt including the Continuity of Care Document. The vocabulary standards used by Google and its decision support partner, Safe-Med, include SNOMED CT, LOINC, NDC, RxNorm, and ICD9.

Over the next few months, it will be interesting to see how many of the 40,000 monthly users of BIDMC's Patientsite will elect to use Google Health. Our plan is to continue to support Patientsite but also enpower patients with interoperability to other personal health records that they may find useful.

Our rollout strategy is that we've enabled the Google Health link to 5000 patients with existing Google gmail accounts (based on their Patientsite email addresses). We'll then expand the rollout as rapidly as we can based on our experience with supporting patients who use Google Health. Here's the message we sent out to our Clinicians and their Patients:

"Over the past year, BIDMC has worked with Google Health to integrate Patientsite and Google's new patient portal.

Google Health is a place for patients to gather their data from providers, payers, pharmacies and labs in one place, then receive decision support such as drug monographs, and disease information.

It is an Opt-In service and the patient controls every aspect of the Google Health site.

There is no additional work for you or your practice.

More information will be coming soon and we'll followup next week. Below is the email we'll send to your patients:

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has partnered with Google Health to offer you additional features regarding your personal health records.

Patients who use PatientSite will now be able to upload their records about diagnoses, medications and allergies from PatientSite to Google Health, and then also use Google's specialized medical knowledge features - online reference materials about medical conditions, information about drug safety, questions to ask your doctor, and more.

How will this work? Initially, patients with a Google Gmail email address will have a new link in PatientSite called Google Health that will enable them to optionally use these Google features. We will add this link to additional Patientsite patients over the next few weeks.

These features are completely optional and will always be under the control of the patient. Google will not target advertising to the site, use the data, resell or share this data in any way. At no time will BIDMC share your data with Google without your consent. The decision to participate and share data is completely up to you. If you decide to participate, you can change your mind at any time and not participate. We hope these new features are helpful to you.

PatientSite Support"
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