Google Aims to Extend Data Mantra into Health Care

At Forrester Research’s IT Forum in Nashville on May 16, Google Enterprise Vice President and General Manager David Girouard summed up his company’s product development philosophy as, “We will never hold the user’s data hostage. You can get your data, you can leave. We’re always going to do right by the user.”
In a move that appears to extend this data mantra into the medical arena, Adam Bosworth, Google vice president, advocated in a May 23 speech for medical information that is both readily available and directly accessible by consumers.
“The vision for the future of health care starts with the premise that consumers should own their own total personal health and wellness data [PHW] and that only consumers, not insurers, not the government, not employers and not even doctors, but only consumers should have complete control over how it is used,” said Bosworth in a speech to the 2007 AMIA (American Medical Association of Informatics) Spring Congress.
Bosworth went on to focus on three core principles to unlock this information for consumers: discovery, action and community. He argued that consumers should be able to easily find the health information they need, have immediate access to health care services and learn from those in similar situations.
{Its great that Adam Bosworth of Google says that consumers should “own” their health data, but as a matter of fact there are no federal laws guaranteeing our ownership or control our health records. David Girouard, a Google VP, promises Google will always “do right by consumers”, but his promise is not backed up by any federal law either. In 2002, HIPAA was gutted and became a “Disclosure Rule,” allowing unfettered access to every American’s electronic medical records by over 4 million health-related businesses and government agencies—without consent, without notice, and even if you object. If Google really believes that consumers should own their health data, why aren’t they lobbying Congress to make that a law? Why isn’t Google putting its money where its mouth is by urging Congress to require ironclad patient privacy rights in electronic health systems? Without federal laws ensuring our privacy rights, Google’s promises are just empty words. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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