Google’s recent announcement that it was shutting down Google Health has left people wondering about the future of personal health records (PHRs) and the degree of interest among wary consumers in managing their health on the level that a service like Google Health would allow. Sorting through Google’s announcement, as well as several blog posts and articles, it seems that Google’s expectations for the service simply did not align with the still-emerging interest in a service that was not as well-defined as it needed to be to succeed.
There is unanimous agreement that empowering consumers to play a greater role in managing their health is a smart idea. The key for personal health records will be building critical mass of acceptance among both consumers and providers. That will require some additional strategies that are currently absent among the current options that are available:
As marketers, any resource that can help consumers make smart, well-informed choices about wellness and healthcare is worth exploring. Imagine being able to integrate medication reminders and symptom trackers or links to relevant disease education and management resources into a PHR.
Google Health was a good idea that was very likely ahead of its time. Its only flaw was offered by a company that may not have had the luxury of investing more time and capital. There are other PHR platforms out there, including Microsoft’s Health Vault and Cerner Health that have expressed their commitment to the PHR in the wake of Google’s announcement. Both have reached out to Google Health users with information on how to transfer their records to other platforms. Cerner is an established player in the electronic health record field, which will be valuable. We hope that both continue to evolve and grow. We also hope that consumers, payors and providers will soon recognize the meaningful benefits that PHRs can provide.
Patients and Health Care Providers