The world renowned Cleveland Clinic Health System announced Wednesday that are teaming up with Google to test out a new online medical record service, which would allow patients to control who can see their health information. The goal of this trial is to hopefully lead to the creation of a national system for sharing electronic medical records.
As the Cleveland Clinic is in my hometown, and I have been a patient there, this is of particular interest to me. While I have reservations about the availability of medical records online, and the potential hazards, I would be interested in being amongst the trial group of 1,500 to 10,000 Cleveland Clinic patients who get to check out this new system in action, if only to satisfy my curiosity. In total, Cleveland Clinic has around 100,000 patients who use their facilities, so only a small portion will be offered the chance to have a look at it.
Those participants in the trial will be able to exchange data about their prescriptions, allergies, and conditions between their Cleveland Clinic record and what Google says is a “secure Google profile” in a live clinical delivery setting. What isn’t yet clear is whether the health information will link patients medical data to an existing Google account, or require them to create a new, special account. Personally, I’d hope that it would NOT be linked to one of the standard Google Accounts that is linked up with everything from AdSense, to Gmail, and beyond. That, in my opinion, would be far too much information linked together and I would not feel comfortable with that at all.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, with a set-up such as this, patients will be able to share their medical profile and information with various doctors, service providers, and pharmacies.
One of the things that undoubtedly attracted the Cleveland Clinic to working with Google is that Google can offer the record sharing service at absolutely no cost to the clinic or to users. All in all, I think it will be interesting to see how this pans out.