Google retires its Health program as of Jan.1,2012. This is sad, not just because we are losing a helpful program, but because of what it represents. Google misread the impetus for the American people to put their health records in a secure database system. Eventually this will happen. Why it has not happened yet maybe fear of the unknown, or fear of security breaches, or laziness or lack of technology. Take your pick.
See what Carole Flagg has written about it:
“Data will then be available in a zip file to download through January 1, 2013.The reason Google gave was that it “didn’t catch on the way we would have hoped”. I don’t know about you but doesn’t that sound like something you would say about a pet rock or the slinky?
Personal Health Records (PHR) are an integral part of the future of health care along with EHR adoption. Currently less than 10% of Americans use PHRs but when all health care providers can actually provide our records to us electronically, a PHR will be as common as our driver’s license or iTunes account.
In a study this year, the independent National Opinion Research Center at University of Chicago focused on consumer/patient attitudes towards health IT and electronic medical records. While 78% of the people favor the use of electronic records and believe they could improve care, 79% thought PHRs would help patients to be better informed about their health, and 72% support sharing health care information between providers.The study believes this shows clear support of the federal initiative on EHR adoption.
In a post on The Health Care Blog after Google’s announcement last June, Missy Krasner, founding member and former product marketing manager of Google Health and senior adviser to former ONC David Brailer, wrote, “Because health care is not a true market-based commodity in this country, patients end up being lousy health care consumers. Unlike the banking, airline and retail industries, this makes it much harder to convince a broad array of consumers to engage in a service that helps them organize, manage and share their medical records online.” Is this really a good analogy? Unlike the banking, airline, and retail industries, the health care industry doesn’t give you the tools along with the data you need to organize your health records online. Just because you have a PHR doesn’t mean your health records are available electronically. For most Americans, they are not.
If you have a Google Health account and actually have current health records there, here is what they are saying to do:
go to the Google Health site at https://health.google.com
log in with your Google account
click on the link in the yellow bar at the top of your screen to start the process of downloading your information and closing your Google Health account.
Microsoft on the other hand is staying committed to their PHR, HealthVault and want the Google Health customers. You can automatically transfer your personal records to Microsoft HealthVault which uses the Direct Project messaging protocols. Here are the instructions.
How to Transfer Data to Microsoft HealthVault
Using Google Health’s data download feature, you can easily export data from your Google Health profile and import it into other third-party personal health services. This page illustrates the process for transferring data to Microsoft HealthVault; for other services, see this article. Be aware that HealthVault may offer different privacy protections than the Google Health website, so make sure you’re comfortable with those protections before proceeding.
To transfer data:
Make sure you’re viewing the profile you want to transfer in Google Health. Note that you will need to repeat these steps for each profile you want to transfer to Microsoft HealthVault.
Click the Download drop down to the right of your profile name, then choose “Send profile to another service…”.
If it’s not already selected, select “Microsoft HealthVault” as the destination service.
After reading the instructions, click the “Send a copy of my profile” button. Your profile data will be sent in a secured message to Microsoft HealthVault via the Direct Project protocol.
In a few minutes, you will receive an email from Microsoft HealthVault in the email inbox associated with your Google Health account. This is the email address displayed at the top of the Google Health window in the upper right.
Follow the instructions in the email to complete the process of transferring your profile to Microsoft HealthVault. Note: if asked for your email address during the process, use the same one that is associated with your Google Health account.
That’s it! Your Google Health data should now appear in your HealthVault profile. Note that if you make any further changes in Google Health, those changes will not automatically appear in HealthVault, and you’ll have to repeat the download and transfer process if you want your changes reflected in HealthVault.
Note also that this process transfers your health records and uploaded files, but not any medical contacts, service links, or sharing settings. You’ll have to manually transfer or recreate those in HealthVault.”
In order to capitalize on “storing” health records, companies are springing up whereby you can store all your information to your own computer and then download it onto a medical alert bracelet- one that has a USB port.
This hybrid makes sense for 2 reasons- EMTs can instantly download the important information in an emergency (i.e. the patient is unconscious). The second is that a large segment of the population may feel more seure I having their information under their direct control where hackers may be less likely to have access to the information (or at least that is what an individual may think) which prompts more people to take action in this regard.