Google Establishes Panel Of Health Care Experts

The Google Health Advisory Council aims to help the search engine firm better serve users seeking health-related information.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

July 2, 2007

2 Min Read

Google has created a health care advisory group of prominent medical and health care experts -- many with an interest in speeding up the use of technology in health care delivery, including online medical searches and sharing of health information.

Chaired by Dean Ornish, founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, the Google Health Advisory Council has a mission of assisting the search engine firm to help it "better understand the problems consumers and providers face every day and offer feedback on product ideas and development," according to Google.

Another council member, John D. Halamka, CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, is a longtime and prominent advocate of increased use of IT in the delivery of health care. Halamka, who was named chairman of the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel in 2005, has been a supporter of the hands-on use of technology in the delivery of health care. He practices what he preaches, in that he has had an RFID chip implanted in his body that displays his personal health information.

Other members of the 24-person Google panel include Delos Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic; Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health; Bernie Hengesbaugh, COO of the American Medical Association; and David Kessler, former Federal Drug Administration commissioner.

Many physicians and their patients use online search services including Google's search engine.

According to a posting on Google's official blog site late last week, the firm noted that its service is used often by consumers. "We want to help users make more empowered and informed health care decisions, and have been steadily developing our ability to make our search results more medically relevant and more helpful to users," the Google posting states. "We often seek expertise from outside the company, and health is no exception."

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