Healthcare // Electronic Health Records
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Google Health Gets Usefulness Injection

In an effort to make Google Health more appealing to people, Google has redesigned and refocused the service.

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Google on Wednesday announced the addition of new features and a new design to Google Health, the company's online personal health data repository.

Citing user feedback and company-sponsored research, Google Health senior product manager Aaron Brown explains in a blog post that users of Google's online health data service want more than a place to stash their health data. They want tools to help them take steps to improve their health.

Toward that end, Google Health has been re-imagined as a dashboard for both monitoring and improving one's health.

"[O]ur new re-design better organizes your medical information, while creating a more welcoming place to set goals for yourself and check in daily on your progress," Brown wrote.

Thus, a user who monitors his or her activity level and relevant vital statistics, like blood pressure, can now access a visualization of this information, to better track health-related goals. The service allows users to create custom goals to monitor activities like time spent exercising or sleeping, or cups of coffee consumed.

To reduce the burden of data entry, Google had made Google Health work with products from partners, such as Fitbit and WorkSmart Labs. Fitbit makes a wearable device that automatically records the wearer's activity level and uploads that information to Google Health when the device is connected to a sync station. WorkSmart Labs makes a free Android fitness app called CardioTrainer.

Perhaps because getting physicians to participate in the Internet revolution isn't easy, Google Health has become more of a personal health journal than a cloud-based locker for official health records from health care providers.

Google Health has also expanded its partnerships with traditional health care providers, including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Sharp HealthCare.

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