Thanks to Google Health, Google users can now share data concerning their health. But given the sensitive nature of the online information, it’s a risky gamble.
Google has made a daring bet. The search engine giant is now allowing Google Health users to share their medical information with other people. Launched in May 2008, the service – free of charge – enables the creation of a digital medical record with which internet users can register all the information they deem useful, such as disease and vaccinations. The goal was to centralise all data traditionally kept on paper and now goes one step further in letting people share it.
But the sensitive and private nature of the information contained by Google and Microsoft - which manages a similar system called Health Vault - means progressing with caution. An ISO certification was created specifically to protect this online data. But some critics are worried all the same. What if an employer gets hold of your information?
Google assures that it has taken all the necessary steps to guarantee the confidentiality of the data shared. Only family members, doctors or health insurance companies can access the content of a Google Health account. The user chooses what data to communicate and can hide the rest.
Google is not subjected to the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or to any other privacy regulation. The Internet giant even had to acknowledge that some of its employees would have access to this information. But “they are bound by strict policies to not disclose this information to others, either within Google or to the outside world,” says Google on its help page. But that may not be enough to reassure the sceptics.
Date created : 2009-03-07