Doctor Google: Healthcare Through Search

    July 30, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

When it comes to organizing all the world’s information and making it useful, Google’s mission may extend all the way to one’s DNA.

Doctor Google: Healthcare Through Search
Doctor Google: Healthcare Through Search

Instead of "physician, heal thyself," the 21st century reworking of that ancient saying could be "you, heal yourself." Bits and pieces of Google Health, Google’s views on health ads notwithstanding, hint at a sum where people take an active role in their preventative care.

‘Googling Google’ blogger Garett Rogers dug into some healthcare blog observations to find a trail of clues that lead all the way to Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his new wife, Anne Wojcicki:

23andme is a startup founded by Sergey Brin’s wife and funded by Sergey himself. The stage is set to give users access and real control of their own personal health. Just imagine one day being able to diagnose yourself with heart disease and take preventative measures years before a potential heart attack — scientifically determined through the human genome. Google would have to be very careful allowing users to diagnose themselves, but if its done right it could have a huge impact on society and quality of life.

The pieces that add up to this possible future come from e-CareManagement and The Health Care Blog. At e-CareManagement, Vince Kuraitis wrote at length about the various clues left out there by Adam Bosworth, head of Google Health, and others:

Google Health (GH) could be the event of the decade in advancing health care reform — not just healthcare information technology (HIT) reform, but health care system reform. GH promises simultaneously to create AND dominate the market for next generation personal health records (PHRs).

The Health Care Blog added on the suggestion about 23andMe’s involvement. That is the company Brin’s wife co-founded with financial backing from her husband. 23andMe "is a privately held company developing new ways to help you make sense of your own genetic information," the site says.

It’s been suggested that in the US, the healthcare industry excels at trauma care, but doesn’t perform nearly as well in preventative care. That’s what a hypothesized Google Health could correct.

Security of the information would have to be as critical as its accuracy. Letting prospective employers and others browse through its database like a Hippocratic version of Facebook, whether by accident or design, simply cannot happen.