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AppRising delivers insight into new broadband applications, exploring their impact on networks and their implications for public policy.

AppRising is written by Geoff Daily, who covers broadband applications and the business of online video. Based in Washington, DC, Geoff regularly advises applications developers, network operators, community leaders, and public officials on how to maximize adoption and use of the Internet.

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October 18, 2007 12:00 PM

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better...

Last week I wrote a post inspired by Microsoft's introduction of its HealthVault personal health information service.

Today, I read that Google's announced a personal health information records initiative of some sort.

There's a total lack of details beyond a vague allusion to their plans to help facilitate the "storage and movement" of people's health records.

It's not often you see Microsoft get the jump on Google, but despite Google not releasing any details about their plans I can't help but think this could be more significant news than Microsoft's.

I say this in part because Microsoft's initiative appears to be purely consumer-driven. In other words, individual users can use the HealthVault to upload their individual information.

I'm sure this will be great for a certain segment of users, but I'm not sure if it will be all that helpful in the larger push to digitize all health records past, present, and future.

This is where Google may be coming in.

As many of you may know, one of Google's big projects is to try and digitize the world's libraries. It's been a contentious endeavor, but one that has seen them ramp up their capacity to scan the printed word into a digital format.

Combine this with their founding principle of wanting to organize the world's information and I'm starting to sense the possibility that when they launch their personal health records product that it will likely be shooting to not just be a consumer product but perhaps that mystical silver bullet that healthcare systems have been looking for as they try to find a straightforward solution for entering into the world of electronic medical records.

Now, I don't have any actual proof of this intent, and Google may end up only coming out with a me-too product analogous to what Microsoft offers, but I'm holding out hope that they're going to seize upon what seems like a massive opportunity to leverage its renowned search capabilities with its high profile brand name with its newfound capacity to digitize paper documents to introduce a new era in electronic medical records.

But only time will tell!


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