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My first encounter with Google Health

Google Health is now a reality. On visiting it, I landed on an agreement page. Apart from other usual terms and conditions, I had to agree to authorize Google to share my health information in my profile. However, it appears that I can choose with whom it could be shared.

This could even contain sensitive information relating to the following:

* Mental illness or any mental health condition
* Alcohol or substance abuse
* Sexually transmitted diseases
* Pregnancy
* Abortion or other family planning
* Genetic tests or genetic diseases

This authorization also covers any record that a doctor or other health care provider may supply to Google Health. The good thing is that I can withdraw this authorization by deleting my profile or using options available in Google Health.

Health profile could be created by entering information relating to Drug interactions, Age, sex, height, Medical Conditions, Medications, Allergies, Procedures, Test results, Immunizations etc. Health profile can be populated from very user-friendly search tool or from alphabetic listings. Diseases can be added from alphabetical list. The items in the list are with “reference” links. The “reference” here means special pages with brief but excellent description of the disease. These contain information on symptoms, treatment, prognosis, tests, prevention, complications, when to consult a doctor etc. These pages are supplemented with what Google is best at. These are search results from Google Scholar, related groups and search trends. These pages are illustrated with diagrams and pictures.

One can even import medical records from independent service providers offering personal health services. It has the following in the listing. Very likely, this is going to expand in future.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Cleveland Clinic MyChart
Longs Drug Stores
MinuteClinic from CVS Caremark
Quest Diagnostics
Walgreens Pharmacy

One can also explore health services for medical records. The following are listed at present:

Cleveland Clinic MyConsult
Heart Attack Risk Calculator
HxTI VaccineView
iHealth, powered by Medem
MediConnect Global
MyCareTeam MCT-Diabetes

One can also find a doctor and add to medical contacts. It also has tools to alert and send you notices like drug interactions depending upon information in the profile.

My overall impression is that it could become very useful tool for keeping better personal medical histories and records. As expected, presently it can be fully exploited by people residing in U.S. Hopefully more and more service providers from other countries would be associating with Google Health.

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