Google Health: Potential web-based database{3}

by Jennifer R
The author discusses a new software developed jointly by Google and IBM, designed to allow personal  health records to be stored online. It allows physicians to upload medical data from their mobile devices onto a web-based database, as well as allowing upload of information from hospitals and device manufacturers. Patients can access their own health records as well as check on the status of family members or relatives with chronic conditions. Despite being faced with privacy and security concerns, both IBM and Google believe moving medical data onto a personal health records platform will provide better information to both doctors and patients. They say it will facilitate more timely communication between doctor and patient. Google Health uses IBM’s Information Management software called Cognos.

This article brings up the subject of managing sensitive and confidential data on the web. The debate over moving databases on to the cloud continues, and it seems Google is testing out the practicality and safety of such a concept. It looks like the database can be expanded by anyone, as the author mentioned Google Health would be provided free of charge. Although the article did not go into detail, privacy and security could be big obstacles to over come for Google Health. It brings up such questions such as who has administrative access? How much data will be seen and by who? Who will take responsibility if a clerical error such as a typo causes serious health issues?

I found the article interesting because I know there are many laws and procedures that protect patient health records. I also know release of patient medical records requires consent of the patient. How would they control that if records are accessible online? What if patients do not wish to have their information posted online? What would stop their doctor or family member from doing so?


Gaudin, S. (2009, February 8). Google, IBM Team on Health Records Project. PCWorld. Retrieved April 8, 2012 from