Following-up a story we first discussed in October, Google has announced the first patients to start testing Google Health.
The pilot project to be announced Thursday will involve 1,500 to 10,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic who volunteered to an electronic transfer of their personal health records so they can be retrieved through Google’s new service, which won’t be open to the general public.
Each health profile, including information about prescriptions, allergies and medical histories, will be protected by a password that’s also required to use other Google services such as e-mail and personalized search tools.
And with the announcement, we have all kinds of scary stories about lack of privacy and security that comes with Google taking hold of your health records.
Here’s just a selection of the concerns CNN reports:
“…the health venture also will provide more fodder for privacy watchdogs who believe Google already knows too much about the interests and habits of its users as its computers log their search requests and store their e-mail discussions.”
“…[Google Health isn’t] covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA…”
“…[Google Health makes] it easier for the government or some other legal adversary to obtain the information…”
Normally Marketing Pilgrim would be the first to point out the downsides to any online service like this. But, here’s the thing that doomsday predictors seem to forget. This is an opt-in service. If you don’t want Google to have access to your medical records, don’t give it to them!