I recently had to go to the doctor for a recurrence of a health problem that I had had some 20 years ago. My original doctor has since retired so this doc was a new one. In preparation for that first appointment, I was asked to get my old records from the doctor who helped me all those years ago and any recent medical records pertaining to the condition. Since doctors keep the same hours I do, this meant I had to take a couple of afternoons off work to go scrounging around for my records.
In addition to that, since the first doctor had retired, I had to find a way to get my medical records from him. I looked in the phone book. No luck. I Googled him. No luck. And because I have a memory like a sieve, my medical details, for all intents and purposes, were lost forever.
Personal Health Records are not new. In fact, there are already many standards, open specifications, and efforts toward standardization of PHR information, and services. But Google claims its service will be different from those others in three ways:
- Platform — Google Health lets you automatically import information such as your doctors' records, your prescription history, and your test results into Google Health to easily access and control your data.
- Portability — You can access and have control over your health data from anywhere. (For people who travel a lot.)
I don't really understand how anyone could pull something like this off in the world of HIPAA, but it sounds like it would be a timesaver.
What do you think?
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.