The GoogleCleveland Clinic health records venture has been announced. Cleveland Clinic is a leader among providers when it comes to health IT, so Google has chosen well.
 
This is a small, quick pilot between two mega-brands in their respective spaces. Word is that the project will last only a couple of months. While Cleveland Clinic has electronic health records for over 100,000 patients, this project will have an N of 10,000.
 
I will be exploring more about the project with Googlefolks at HIMSS next week. For now, I’m in research mode. I’ve already come across several useful posts that I’ll share with Health Populi readers below.
 
But first, I’m particularly struck by the announcement of the Cleveland Clinic/Google venture in the same week that a relevant new report has been published by the World Privacy Forum. The report came to me by way of a newspaper column in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle titled, “Health data storage sites might not be secure.” The Forum’s report, Personal Health Records: Why Many PHRs Threaten Privacy, points out the ‘slippage’ between PHRs and HIPAA — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
The report’s conclusion is that, “While PHRs may have some laudable goals, they also are a tempting target for companies or others that want to evade whatever privacy protections remain in the health care system in order to make a profit. Whether the benefits of PHRs are sufficient to overcome the real dangers to privacy remains to be seen. It is something that each potential user of a PHR must consider before enrolling. Any consumer worried about the privacy of personal health information should proceed with great caution before agreeing to sign up for a PHR, particularly those operating outside of HIPAA.”
 
It’s useful to consider the Google/Cleveland Clinic project in light of this report.
 
For now, learning more about the venture is on my immediate-term to-do list. Some posts worthy of review are listed below.
 
Doctor Pundit
 
Computerworld
 
Ars Technica
 
The Earth Times
 
ShareWatch
 
Wired

and a decidedly contrarian view from The Precursor Blog…
 
 
Health Populi’s Hot Points: In the vein of Clayton Christensen and his world of disruptive innovation (celebrating its 10th birthday!), the Google-Cleveland Clinic pilot appears to be designed quick and relatively small. This is a good thing. This kind of test can yield lots of learnings that will enable the partners to retool and reimagine electronic health records in an iterative series of pilots. It’s very early days to opine more, but I’ll try to dig in deeper when I talk with Google next week at HIMSS.

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