Understanding How Google Health Functions

Google Health was launched by Google, Inc. as an undemanding and practical solution for the healthcare industry’s apprehension about electronically storing Patient Health Information. Google Health Service can be simply described as a technological tool that acts like a central warehouse for an individual’s medical information. Based upon the Privacy Policy settings chosen by the individual, this information can be shared with medical practitioners, primary care facilities and insurance providers.

Building a Health Profile with Google Health — Google Health is a major improvement over any other endeavor that has been made in the field of electronically saving an individual’s medical history. This is perhaps the first time that a personal, exhaustively-detailed profile, inclusive of diagnosed medical conditions, test results and prescribed medications can be saved for any length of time. This service also enlists many Google Health partners, including pharmacists and health-service providers, with whom this personal Health Profile can be shared, online, to seek a medical opinion.

The Immediate Advantages
There are some remarkable advantages that become obvious by using the Google Health service. For starters, it saves critical time and removes the tediousness of repeatedly filling out patient information every time an individual changes his primary care or referring physician. Even if the physically-saved medical records are lost, they can be accessed by simply logging online into Google Health. This is a significant benefit since it helps in saving expenditures that are incurred due to repeated tests that have to be conducted simply because the old records cannot be located. In the simplest of analysis — Google Health empowers every individual with complete and unargued access to his systematically-stored and protected health information without any discrimination or service costs.

Google Health’s Privacy Policies
Like all other Google services, Google Health is covered under a holistic privacy policy. Google Health Developer Policies ensure that the registered Google user is informed about every bit of personal information that is being collected, saved or shared. This health information cannot be accessed by making online searches on Google’s search engine and users need to specifically authorize the kind of people or resources with whom they wish to share their saved medical data. In fact, these access privileges can be revoked at the sole discretion of the user with just a click of the mouse. If the user chooses to share his Google Health account information with anyone, then the kind of access and the extent of information sharing too is explained by Google Health’s automated system that seeks to educate and enlighten the user at every step of authorizing information sharing. Besides this, Google is known to use the most innovative and sophisticated data encryption technologies along with other online security tools to ensure that each user’s account information is fortified against every conceivable data protection-related threat.

Google Health and HIPAA
However, it should be understood that this novel service by Google is not covered by the regulations of the HIPAA. Therefore, Google Health services are under no legal obligation to abide by the data privacy and confidentiality standards that have been set by federal governing. It is easy to understand why the providers of Google Health service have intentionally chosen not to be governed by HIPAA — Google does not provide these services on behalf of healthcare facilities or insurance firms and thus, it is primarily concerned with ensuring that the people (registered Google users) have trouble-free and free access to their own medical records. Despite not being covered by HIPAA, Google Health has set high standards concerning its Privacy Policy which is now deemed at par with the stringent HIPAA regulations. In fact, Google Health users can be assured that any proven or even attempted violation of their medical records is dealt in coherence with the legal benchmarks set by the Federal Trade Commission.