Pay attention – Google is onto something big, something that could very well change the world, and no, it’s not OpenSocial or App Engine or Android. One of the biggest overlooked items in the last several days has been an announcement by Google to release an API for their Google Health service. I’ve mentioned before that Google Health is one of the single biggest threats to the Healthcare Industry since the establishment of company-paid Health Insurance (well, maybe not in those words, but that’s what I meant).
The Google Health API does two things, for the most part. It allows a developer to retrieve medical profiles stored in Google, and format them as a “Continuity of Care Document”, a standard in the HealthCare Industry for sending HealthCare history information and data from HealthCare provider to HealthCare provider (a provider would be your doctor, or a hospital, or dentist). This allows your doctor’s systems that are already familiar with this system to easily read your history and process it accordingly so your doctor can read it.
Secondly, it allows you to send profile information from your own systems into Google Health. Through a simple post to Google’s servers, you can send history information via XML and it will get stored in Google’s servers. So, as a doctor you can hire a developer like me, and we’ll parse the information from your systems, and your customers can simply use their Google login to access not only the information you stored about their visit, but their entire history from previous doctors.
This is the start of something beautiful. Previously in order to send and receive medical data, it required a firm knowledge of pages and pages of HIPAA documents to know and understand, and at the same time know how to get the information, which could be in many different formats into, and out of your systems as a doctor. Now, Google is providing a single source, and a standard for developers to understand that will allow any developer to transfer data into, and out of a single source into your systems. Now you only have to know one standard as a Doctor and you can have that patient’s entire medical history with the push of a button. Google knows the standards so you don’t have to.
Google is in the position to take this much further. As the single destination source for consumers, they have the power to control standards, track payments, health issues, and more, and provide a single standard to do all this. I wouldn’t be sleeping very well right now if I were a HealthCare company. Google is in a position to take the power out of their hands and put it back in the consumer’s. Google is about to change the world of Healthcare as we know it.