Monday, April 14, 2008

Google Promises Not to Advertise on Health Platform

Google Promises Not to Advertise on Health Platform

To curb user privacy concerns, Google is refusing to sell ads to support
its new service, which stores personal medical information.

Google Health is a platform where users can manage medical records like
test results and prescriptions, according to the Boston Globe. It is
accessible via username and password, much like a Gmail account.

A recent study found that health care patients want to manage medical
material online, but rarely get the quality of service they seek.

"Our model is that the owner of the data has control over who can see
it," said Google CEO Eric Schmidt at an annual healthcare information
conference. "And trust, for Google, is the most important currency on
the internet."

The soon-to-be launched service provides an open system where third
parties can build direct-to-consumer services like medication tables or
immunization reminders. Google intends to profit by boosting traffic to
its search site - the same model used for ad-free Google News.

Competing services include Microsoft's HealthVault, ad-supported but
without ads based on health records, and AOL's Revolution Health.

Privacy advocates observe that when records are taken out of the health
sector, they aren't covered by the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act.

Google Health partners include Wal-Mart, and healthcare providers Aetna
and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In its early days as a search engine,
it made a similar commitment to keep search-based advertising out of its
business model.

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