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Electronic health records

Google to launch online health platform early next year

Google plans to formally launch its long-awaited health platform in early 2008, said Marissa Mayer, Google’s head of search, earlier this month at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Mayer said that Google has developed an online health platform prototype that includes:

• Personal health records;

• Healthcare-related search functions;

• Diet and exercise regimens; and

• A localized “find a doctor” application.

Google has presented the prototype to unspecified partners and is having employees and “trusted testers” beta-test the system.

“Google is not a doctor, but people come to us with a lot of health information searches,” Mayer said, adding, “There is a big user information need, which we should ultimately fill.”

Some parts of Google’s health platform will be available at no cost, but the services and applications might be subscription-based, Mayer said.

Microsoft, Google’s biggest rival, last month introduced plans for HealthVault, an electronic health record service. Other technology companies, including IBM and Oracle, have been working for years to modernize personal health records. However, they have faced challenges, including privacy concerns and budget cuts of medical programs, Reuters reported.

At the conference, Mayer said, “This is a big vision. It’s a multi-year process,” adding, “We are just getting started.”

 

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