Google's entry into the race to build a universally accepted electronic personal health record got a cool reception at the Physicians' IT Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 24. The one-day meeting, attended by about 300 physicians interested in healthcare information technology, was held in conjunction with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society annual conference held there.
Physician Daniel Masys, who chairs the department of biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University, said Google, the internet search giant, has "no idea of what it's getting into" with the company's plans to launch a personal health record. Masys gave the opening keynote address at the symposium. Last week, Google announced a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic to pilot test a PHR.
Masys, a member of the Institute of Medicine, said Google executives gave a presentation to the IOM four months ago on its PHR that Masys described as vague and naive. He said Google and others with similar plans to move into the PHR business will need to develop a number of strategic alliances in healthcare to gain the expertise they need to develop PHRs. Google's partnership with the Cleveland Clinic presumably addresses that concern.
Later, at the same symposium, speaker Holly Miller, a physician who is vice president and chief medical information officer at University Hospitals in Cleveland and chairwoman of the HIMSS PHR Steering Committee, said personal medical information stored by Microsoft Corp. or Google has no legal protection to guard the privacy and security of the information.
In January, Microsoft announced plans to develop an electronic PHR through a partnership with the Mayo Clinic.
Masys predicted that the scheduled Feb. 28 keynote address at the HIMSS conference by Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman and chief executive officer, would be the most popular and well-attended session at the conference. He said everyone wants to know who the "800-pound gorilla" will sit on.