Google’s Melissa Mayer says the company is still working to break through the health market. They plan to start with search and then offer other services in the future. A prototype of Google Health was shown to health professionals this past summer.
Google began to be interested in the health industry online when engineers at the company started to notice people using Google to find diagnosis for health problems. They saw that people simply typed their symptoms into the search engine.
“According to Prospectiv’s “2007 Pharmaceutical Marketing CPI” poll conducted in June, 75% of 800 consumers surveyed feel the Internet is their most trusted source for health information. And not only was the Internet the most trusted medium, but it was the most reliable place to research ailment and drug information, more so than broadcast media (15%) and magazines (10%). The study also found that online consumers favor general health Web sites (54%) and ailment-focused sites (37%) over pharmaceutical company sites (4%).” -according to http://google-health-ads.blogspot.com/
Another feature Google will add is to add doctors and information about them to Google Maps.
Microsoft has already gotten into the health field but with electronic health record services. Their product is called Microsoft HealthVault.
Mayer is now the acting head of Google’s health initiative – the position was recently held by Adam Bosworth. Bosworth headed the initiative then, according to his blog, left to go to a startup. They are also trying to create a repository for health records online.
Several companies have tried to do this with little success. The health industry is paper-based and many health records aren’t electronic. Understandably there are also privacy concerns and lack of coordination between entities. Then add that they have lost leadership so soon after getting started, this project will probably be slow go.