The Associated Press is reporting that Google is finally (finally!) launching its Google Health service today after literally years of anticipation. The catch is that the initial release of Health will be a pilot program in Cleveland for 1,500 to 10,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic who volunteer to an electronic transfer of their personal medical information to Google. The rest of us won’t be able to get in just yet.
Each health profile, including information about prescriptions, allergies and medical histories, will be protected by a password that’s also required to use other Google services such as e-mail and personalized search tools.
If Google needs a seperate agreement with every medical provider in the country, boy is it in trouble. More likely, it is just using the Clinic as a way to isolate patients for its beta test. Considering that this sort of thing is nearly impossible to keep secrete, especially with thousands of Cleveland patients, we can assume the 1,500-10,000 window is because Google hasn’t asked any of them yet, and will begin doing so today.
Google’s projection, that at least 1,500 patients will agree, banks on those patients trusting Google with a lot of sensitive personal information. People are naturally worried about who they give their medical info to, and this won’t just be a test of Google’s system, but of Google’s ability to establish that trust.