Feeds

Google eyes Cleveland medical records

World Privacy Forum howls

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Google's efforts to engulf the world's medical records will begin in Cleveland.

Today, the search engine cum world power announced a joint project with the Cleveland Clinic, an 87-year-old not-for-profit medical center, that will see between 1,500 and 10,000 of the center's patients entrust their personal records to Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Yes, between 1,500 and 10,000. Presumably, Google and the Cleveland Clinic anticipate that a few thousand patients will ultimately decide this idea is way too creepy.

In any event, the project marks the debut of a long-awaited/long-dreaded online health service from the Mountain View, California web giant. Google has previously said that this store-your-medical-records offering would be available to the general public sometime in 2008.

Similar services are already available from arch-rival Microsoft and a startup known as Revolution Health, backed by AOL co-founder Steve Case.

Google bills its password-protected service as "a new kind of healthcare experience that puts the patient in charge of his or her own health information." The Cleveland Clinic already stores patient records on an in-house database, and it will soon give a chosen few the opportunity to move their records onto Google's servers, including information regarding medical conditions, allergies, and prescriptions.

Naturally, this will allow these patients to quickly access their Cleveland Clinic records whenever they spy an internet connection. But Google envisions a time when its service allows any brave soul to shuttle records to and from multiple doctors, pharmacies, and other healthcare providers.

Yes, many will be reluctant to share their records with a company that already stores their search histories and indexes their email. But patient privacy would be an issue even if Google was a piddly startup.

It just so happens that yesterday, as word of Google's Cleveland Clinic partnership spilled forth from The Associated Press, the World Privacy Forum released a report (PDF) explaining that health records hosters like Google aren't covered by the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

In other words, the laws that govern what doctors can do with a patient's medical records wouldn't apply to Larry Page and Sergey Brin. "Because of the structure of HIPAA, its privacy protections do not generally follow a health record," the report says. "The basic idea is that if a health care provider (hospital, physician, pharmacist, etc.) or a health plan maintains a health record, the record is protected under HIPAA. However, if a person of business is not a covered entity under HIPAA holds the records, then HIPAA does not apply."

When we asked Google to discuss its health service, it said: "We'll get back to you." ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.