Google Health is working to develop a system to allow doctors better access to medical records. What could this mean for the future of our health care records?
What are Google Health working on?
One such idea is to develop a new search engine designed specifically around the needs of medical professionals. The concept is to create an easier way of searching and accessing patient records. This could function much as a web-based Google search.
This ties in with the potential to create more accurate, reliable patient resources. There are many reliable data banks out there, providing information about symptoms, conditions, diagnoses and treatments. However, the web is also littered with false facts and scaremongering.
Certainly the idea of having an irrefutable source of health care information must be music to the ears of those tired of seeing misinformation spread by the Anti-Vax movement. This echoes the regulations launched by (Google owned) YouTube. They have now banned anti-vaccination channels from advertising on the platform.
How does this tie in with other announcements and innovations at Google?
Google have been working hard at branding themselves as the go-to modern provider for personal healthcare tech. We reported just a couple of days ago that Google have acquired the Fitbit brand for $2.1 billion.
With Google also focusing their new apps on digital wellbeing, there is clear intention here. Perhaps an initiative to quietly rebrand?
It seems likely, with Made By Google also including a strong emphasis on privacy and sustainability.
Feinburg says; ‘I believe Google is already a health company. It’s been in the company’s DNA from the start.’
Why is a new search engine required for medical professionals?
The idea is to make it faster for doctors to access medical records. This would also help to improve the reliability of medical information sourced by the public across Google and YouTube.
Electronic medical records have some major glitches. One is the manual time required to digitalise historic records. This means some prior health information may be missing from current files.
The other is the sheer volume of data, and whether a medical professional has time to shift through it all. Medical appointments are often very limited in time, making this a high pressure situation where important markers or notes could be easily missed.
Whilst it is going back a while, in 2017 MD Medical News Magazine reported on the issues of EMRs (Electronic Medical Records).
This survey showed that nearly half of physicians interviewed spent an ‘excessive or moderately high’ amount of their own time uploading and updating EMRs. In some areas, almost a third of time spent with patients consisted of working through their records.
It sounds like the systems in use are far from perfect, and improving this could save valuable time, resources and potentially lives.