Google is not talking further about its decision to drop its personal health-record platform, Google Health, preferring to let last Friday's blog post announcing the move stand for itself, according to company spokesman Jason Freidenfelds in an e-mail today.
So, to get the big picture of what Google's withdrawal from the PHR space might mean, Missy Krasner may be one of the best people to ask.
Health IT cognoscenti will remember Krasner as the peripatetic special adviser to Dr. David Brailer, the first head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS. From there, Krasner shipped out to Google to serve first as a founding member and project manager of Google Health and then as a product marketing lead for consumer search.
Krasner's departure from Google earlier this year was a signal for some that the search giant's interest in health IT might be waning. Krasner, still in Mountain View, Calif., now works as an independent IT consultant.
Krasner has no dispute with Google's stated reason for announcing it will drop its Google Health platform at year's end—it just didn't attract enough users.
So why didn't it attract more users? Several factors were at work, Krasner said.
"The first is just something that's pretty basic," Krasner said. "It's the way our healthcare system is made up: It's not made up with the patient at the center of every transaction. They're blind to every transaction—to cost and to where their data is stored. Patients don't know about these things, so the demand for these services is lower."