I am a big fan of everything Google. I use Google reader as my main way to track blogs, use Google mail, Google documents, Google maps, I-Google and the word Google as a verb many times during the day. Google has innovated yet again launching Google health. This is essentially a portal for you to enter all of your health information including your basic stats (height, weight, blood type – based on this, it calculates your BMI) to more detailed information i.e. illnesses, medications, vaccinations, test results, allergies and even upload entire medical records if you go to a doctor whose record system can synch with Google (I am presuming this number will grow in a short time).
Once you enter illnesses it provides you a hyperlink containing information about symptoms, treatments prognosis as well as list of related news, related scholar results, related groups and search trends which includes health terms other people who have searched for that disease have searched for.
The medications set up is similar as when you add one to your list it also has a hyperlink to the package insert which is pretty amazing as I tested it out with a few random drugs and they had the package info for all of them. It is the Beta version and very US focuses as I tried a few UK based products and there were no listings but it still seems pretty extensive and even has an auto fill in fields which suggest medications as you type as most medication is fairly impossible to spell.
I was torn about this idea at first as the idea of all of personal medical information being online scared me a bit but the marketing nerd in me couldn’t help but to love the amazing customer data that Google will have. Can you imagine if the local blood bank could target banner ads to those with O blood type in a particular city if they were low on O blood? Or if an allergy medication company could advertise their product when specific pollen counts were high? This benefits the marketers as the more targeted you can get the message the better response rate you will get…and I guess it benefits the user as if there is truly something out there that will alleviate some medical symptoms than I am sure they would rather see ads about that rather than weight loss messages if they are not on a diet or smoking cessation products if they are already non smokers.
As much of a beneficial resource this is for marketers it also poses the risk of personal information in cyberspace being hacked/leaked or just found by accident by someone who didn’t properly log out of their health account. I am usually pretty trusting of the internet and regularly assure my parents that they are safe to buy things online etc but for health stuff I am not sure…I did enter some information about myself about 2 weeks ago and so far haven’t received any strange emails from drug companies offering me deals, been fired or had my insurance revoked which I guess is good?
Don’t get me wrong there are loads of other benefits to the service…these are just my thoughts on a few points…as you can imagine I could go on and on and on…but it’s time for lunch and since its Friday we are off to Gourmet Burger Kitchen…whoops there goes my cholesterol levels and I might have to bump up my weight now too…don’t tell the insurance company!