Microsoft and Google in Healthcare

There has been some recent discussion about Google moving out of the healthcare side of things now that co-founder Larry Page is chief executive.  The Wall Street Journal article, At Google, Page Aims to Clear Red Tape, states “some managers believe Mr. Page will eliminate or downgrade projects he doesn’t believe are worthwhile, freeing up employees to work on more important initiatives, these people said. One project expected to get less support is Google Health, which lets people store medical records and other health data on Google’s servers.”

The article states that Page’s Google will focus on graphical online-ad initiatives, YouTube, Android software, and “several emerging lines of business.” Page also wants more projects to operate more like start up companies within Google (ala YouTube and Android). 

Some, like Diana Manos at Healthcare IT News believe that the Google rumor is false.  

Diana states, John Halamka (author of Life as a Healthcare CIO, and last year’s Leiter lecturer) told her that he has not heard of the rumor.  Not only does John use Google Health as a patient, he is also on Google’s advisory council. 

She also questions the source(s) for this rumor.  According to Diana, the WSJ reported on the rumor with anonymous sources referred to as “some managers”  (which I point out they don’t have to disclose their sources). Diana also is leary of  consulting firm analyst, Gregg Kall, perpetuating the rumor, saying “I am always suspicious of consultants  (or journalists) declaring things without evidence, especially with such a high-impact, search engine word as “Google.” (Clicks, anyone?)”.

While Google continues with their “no comment” comment on Google Health (see Mary Jo Foley’s article). Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet says “Microsoft is moving full-steam ahead with its healthcare push.”  Not only is staffing up but “Microsoft’s HealthVault personal-health-record service, as well as the Amalga integration and analysis products are now in the same business unit as Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP products.”  That certainly seems to indicate Microsoft is ramping things up. As Foley points out, even though Google hasn’t indicated they are dropping their product, we haven’t seen many recent updates to it, unlike Microsoft.

So it looks like things are starting to shake up a little bit in the personal health record arena.  It will be interesting to see if or how this will impact the health care institutions and any librarians who are involved in EHRs, EMRs, etc.

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