This particular trial allows the patients enrolled in the MyChart program to tie their EMRs to a Google account. They can then utilize Google's search capabilities to search for other practices that offer EMRs, or research health plans. Then they can choose to share their medical information with whichever health care professionals they choose with the touch of a button, preventing re-doing histories, lab tests, and more. For starters, the data is being limited to info about allergies, lab results, and current medications.
I recently had to switch physicians. The one I left had the coolest techno set-up ever. It included a complete electronic system whereby all patient records were stored locally on a server. He used a tablet PC and PDA to interact with those records, make notes, and add information to patient charts. Whenever I needed a prescription for anything, he fired it off to my pharmacy wirelessly directly from his PDA. This is how physicians' offices should be operating.
My new physician, by comparison, is no more advanced than the doctors I saw as a kid. None of my previous information was transferred. A complete history had to be taken all over again and everything stored in gigantic paper filing cabinets. The technology is there to prevent this. Why not use it?
Well, Google and the Cleveland Clinic are.
Of course, privacy advocates are concerned. If the system were ever compromised, the health records of thousands of patients would be exposed. I, for one, think we need to move forward with our health system and the way it collects and stores information. EMRs are one way to do it.
But should it be Google doing this? What about the government? Who's responsibility should EMRs be, and who should pay for it?