Google Takes it to a Whole New Level

Strategic Alliance Partnership | <b>Cleveland Clinic</b>

Looks like Google finally got its planned electronic health record program off the ground. Its new trial with the Cleveland Clinic, announced today, will allow doctors and patients alike to access, research and share information via the eCleveland Clinic MyChart program and Google's powerful software.

Looks like Google finally got its planned electronic health record (EHR) program off the ground. Its new trial with the Cleveland Clinic, announced today, will allow doctors and patients alike to access, research and share information via the eCleveland Clinic MyChart program and Google's powerful software.

Like it or not, electronic health records, or EHRs, are likely the future of how patient data is stored and accessed. Its use is not widespread just yet, but Google, Microsoft and others are looking to change that.

The eCleveland Clinic MyChart program has enrolled over 120,000 patients and stores their data in an EHR system. Through this system, patients can access their own health records through a secure website and do things such as make appointments and renew prescriptions. This system has already helped streamline efficiency and boost physician productivity at the Clinic by cutting down on phone calls.

Partnering with Google boosts the functionality of the MyCharts program to a new level. Leveraging Google's strengths in search software, MyChart enrollees can now also search for physicians who use EHR systems--no matter the location--and choose to share bits and pieces of their medical histories with the whichever health care professionals are appropriate. They can also search for health plans that use/permit EHRs within the network. For now, the information that patients can share is limited to items such as allergies, current medications and lab results.

These are baby steps here, but the first are always the most significant. Google plans for big things in health care. Amassing, storing and cross-correlating information is Google's specialty. Whether or not Google should be involved here, and not a government agency, is up for debate. Personally, I trust Google more than I would the government.

But that's just me.