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Diagnosing Google HealthWebware.com editor Rafe Needleman and News.com's Kara Tsuboi discuss the recent launch of Google Health, a service that allows users to compile their medical records online. Sounds good in theory, but privacy concerns and insurance issues are the unknown...
[ music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Good morning, I'm Kara Suboy, cnetnews.com. I'm joined by Rafe Needleman, editor of webware.com. Thanks for joining us Rafe. >> Of course. >> And we're here to talk about Google Health. Why don't you explain this new program launched by Google. >> Yeah, so yesterday Google launched the beta of Google Health, which is a place where consumers can go and put in their medical data, their prescription drug information, or get that data from their pharmacy or their doctor. And if they ever need to give that information to another physician, or get advice related to that data, it's all right there in front of them. >> Yeah, that sounds so handy, so convenient to have it all in one place. >> Yeah, it is, and so scary from a privacy perspective, because this means now that Google has all your medical data. Now it could be very useful, but there are a lot of people who are worried about the terms of service on this, and what a company's going to do with this data. >> Absolutely. I mean just putting all of your data, personal, very personal data out onto the internet. I mean you just really don't know who else could access this, who could crack into it. >> Right. Now Google, interestingly, is not the first company to do this. I mean Microsoft has a product like this called Health Vault, and other companies have tried to do this. There is a real problem, in the U.S. at least, with medical record keeping. Our medical records are scattered to the four winds, these doctors have them on paper, these hospitals have them over there, if you move it doesn't go with you. So there's a lot to be said for trying to bring it all together, which is what Google is doing. But there are these other issues that the unintended side effects of putting this information all in one place. >> Now that big side effect, another huge side effect I imagine will be insurance companies. What does this mean for the way insurance is gonna be dealing with our records. >> Well interestingly, of all the partners that Google has signed on here, and there are twenty so far including pharmacies and some medical groups, there are no insurance companies on board. >> At some point I would not be surprised to see the insurance companies want to get access to this data, or in the guise of we can serve you better if we know more about you. However, there are, I'm a little concerned that when the insurance companies have this data, they're able to slice and dice the medical groups a little finer than people would like. Now legally they're prohibited from doing that, but we'll see how they manage to get around that. >> Absolutely. I mean have you tried out the service yet? I mean it is in the beta format right now. >> I tried it. >> Okay. >> I mean the thing about it, it's really easy to use, it's really to put all your data in. None of the, of my medical information is with any of the Google Health partner providers. So I put in some of my own information. I made it up to try it out. I didn't put in my real medical stuff. But it's really easy to use, and it gives the consumer a really clear perspective on what their medical conditions, and their medical records are. It's very user friendly in terms of the information in and how it displays. And what's cool, one of the really cool things about it is once you have all this information in, you can go to one of the partner sites, like the American Heart Association's heart attack calculator, which asks you to put in all this medical information, or to tell you how - >> When you're gonna have a heart attack? >> How prone you are to it. But with this service you're already eight steps ahead because the data's already there. >> Wow. But a lot of the, I mean a lot of the work is gonna be getting your data into the system. I mean - >> A lot - >> It has all that data at their fingertips. >> A lot of the work is going to be Google's in getting medical groups and hospitals, and doctor groups and pharmacies into their partner program, so then you can get that data in very easily. >> So final diagnosis, what do you think? Good, bad, healthy, unhealthy? >> I think this is necessary for medical records to go electronic, and that Google has a footprint that will make it possible. I think there are a lot of unintended side effects of a program like this, and I want to see more privacy controls, I want to see HIPPA get a little bit more involved in this product than they are right now. But I do think it's a step in the right direction. >> All right, thank you so much Rafe. You can read more about Google Health on news.com. I'm Kara Suboy, we'll see you next time. ^M00:03:40 [ music ]