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How Google+ Could Transform Healthcare & Medicine

Opinion

Xconomy National — 

This post was co-authored by Rich Whalley, an associate at CBT Advisors.

What could Google do if it had access to everyone’s health data?

You’re probably already thinking a few things:

1. There’s no way I’m giving Google my personal health data.

2. Didn’t Google already try to do this with Google Health?

3. Won’t this take the “don’t” out of Google’s “don’t be evil” motto?

But bear with us. Imagine a healthcare system 10 years in the future that would make Obama proud.

I go to the doctor and find out that I’m at risk for developing type II diabetes and need to craft an effective set of measures to minimize my risk. I find out that there are multiple recommended approaches, including preventative medicines. We log in to my Google+ health data page and go through the extensive record of my diet, lifestyle, and exercise data, as well as my genome. From this, we determine how my response is likely to compare to that of the average person at risk for diabetes.

Even if Obamacare is ultimately upheld, it’s hard to imagine that the government alone is capable of unifying and analyzing all this data through the implementation of electronic health records. A better solution may come from the private sector, where all the necessary tools are already developed. As we know from Wikipedia, the most comprehensive, cost-effective data sets often come from user-generated data.

In comparison to Wikipedia, and Google+, Google Health was never positioned to gain a large enough user base. Google Health also lacked the right social tools to become popular enough to generate anything like “big data.” Google+, by contrast, will likely gain mass adoption because of the Gmail user-base and Google’s recent moves in the smart phone space. Google’s core strengths—aggregate data analytics, Web app and smartphone integration—give it the inside track to become the ultimate user-generated health resource.

The right components for the ultimate user-generated health resource.

But how to proceed? Letting it grow organically might ultimately lead to a flop the way it did with Google Health. Instead, we have a few suggestions to take on and neutralize the privacy issue and grow via a clever acquisition. That way, Google can realize its full potential as a neutral data gatherer and let its users benefit from the analysis

1. Take the “evil” out of data acquisition

Google has been in trouble in the past with privacy, and some view Google as an evil entity trying to take over the world by gaining and analyzing information on its users. Why would anyone want to give Google access to personal health details? There will always be … Next Page »

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  • dondiba

    hi,
    i’am an md, and i think the time of a web based patient centered medicine has to come :
    already, when a new epidemic flu begins, the number of google requests about ‘flu’ increase in the area. so than google is first informed of it -before the CDC-
    if a standardised personnal medical file is available for every one, readable by the chosen physician, an accurately documented, with possibility of performing statistical analysis, we will have a new, more actual, definition of diseases, and we’ll be able to assess soon the best treatments, strategies…

  • Jim

    I really don’t think you can grasp the complexity and volume of applications used in healthcare. Google+ could help with some analysis but what you suggest is being done already.

  • beatlbabe

    where is your +1 button so i can share this.

  • Ross

    Also, Facebook just updated to have selective sharing.

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