Healthy Thoughts From Google

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Health care information should be readily available from the health care system, with an emphasis on relevance and personalization. Preferably without too much government involvement.

Healthy Thoughts From Google
Healthy Thoughts From Google
Healthy Thoughts From Google

It is straight out of Google’s modus operandi for information these days: find it, organize it, make it personally relevant. The company would like to see the health care industry treat information in a similar fashion over the next decade.

Google VP Adam Bosworth spoke at the 2007 American Medical Association of Informatics (AMIA) Spring Congress about this topic. His talk focused on three main principles of making health information more effectively available:

  • Discovery – Consumers should be able to discover the most relevant health information possible

  • Action – Consumers should have direct access to personalized services to help them get the best and most convenient possible health support
  • Community – Consumers should be able to learn from and educate those in similar health circumstances and from their health practitioners

Fulfilling that vision requires “two core changes in electronic medicine,” Bosworth said in his talk. Health data needs to be computable, a change that should happen with the advent of forthcoming standards for doing so.

Authentication and trust form the other issue. Unsurprisingly, it’s an area where Bosworth said Google can help (emphasis added):

We face this issue every day. For example, people want to expose one of their Google calendars to some time management service or to Salesforce.com, but not all their calendars, let alone their email, their personal Google Documents (spreadsheets, text documents, and presentations) or their other personal data. Thus, giving up their user name and password to the service is totally inappropriate.

And it is important that not only are access rights constrained, but that they can be revoked because the customer may end up losing trust in the individual or online service with whom the data is shared. To us, trust does not mean a national identity since as far as we can see this flies in the face of the very human need to compartmentalize and maintain privacy.

We have come up and are shipping a solution known as Account Authentication Proxy for Web-Based Applications, also known as Auth/Sub. For more information see http://code.google.com/apis/accounts/AuthForWebApps.html.

In short, Bosworth is saying trust Google to help with this, and not the government.

Healthy Thoughts From Google
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