Health Cloud Brings Google Health to the iPhone

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Google's Mac Blog yesterday highlighted Health Cloud [App Store, Free], an application released last month that serves as a native iPhone and iPod touch client for Google Health. Google Health is a Personal Health Record service that enables users to maintain all of their health records in one central online location. Health Cloud, created by a third-party developer, is the first application to use Google Data APIs Objective-C Client Library's support for the Google Health Data API.

    The developer notes that a new version of Health Cloud has been submitted to Apple for approval. The new version adds the ability to display additional health data, as well as notices from health care providers. The update also improves the format of the displayed health record.

    Article Link: Health Cloud Brings Google Health to the iPhone
  2. DotComCTO macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2006
    Wow. I never heard of Google Health until I saw this post; however, that is one *scary* product. Check out some of the terms of service (copy and paste from the Google Health TOS):

    "....When you provide your information through Google Health, you give Google a license to use and distribute it in connection with Google Health and other Google services. However, Google may only use health information you provide as permitted by the Google Health Privacy Policy, your Sharing Authorization, and applicable law. Google is not a "covered entity" under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the regulations promulgated thereunder ("HIPAA"). As a result, HIPAA does not apply to the transmission of health information by Google to any third party."

    (emphasis added by me) let me see. I put all sorts of super-personal information about myself into Google's database, and they're not covered by HIPAA and they get to use it with other Google services. Riiiight. I'll get right on that.



    P.S. Yes. I do see that there's a "sharing authorization agreement" that seems to contradict the first part of the TOS:

    "I hereby authorize Google to share the health information contained in my Google Health profile(s) in its entirety, to only those entities and individuals I designate, for the purpose of providing me with medical care and for the purpose of sharing my information with others that I choose."

    This only adds to the confusion. Either way...count me out.
  3. audioteknika macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2008
  4. sharkez macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2005

    In addition to what DotComCTO has quoted, the following is at the end of the more specific "Sharing Authorization Agreement":

    I understand and agree that in addition to the information I choose to share, Google may only share information in the limited circumstances described in the Google Health Privacy Policy.

    which may still allow Google more freedom based on the separate terms of service privacy policy.
  5. geekmommy4 macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2008
    I agree that the terms look too scary to use Google Health. It seems like a great concept if it weren't for that.

    I'd love to be able to store information about me and my family that I could easily find from anywhere. Even after...heaven forbid, I move on to another phone someday! :eek:
  6. cnorth3 macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2007
    Thanks but no thanks

    I haven't looked at these specific Google policies, but most of their policies give Google the right to change their terms at will, and require the user to go to the site to find out if any changes have been made. Also, Google's agreements and policies have always been way over-reaching, especially where privacy and IP rights are concerned.

    There's no way I'd give them my health information. Put it together with the web-surfing surveillance they do through search tracking and now DoubleClick, plus location info through IP addresses and mobile devices, and is there anything Google doesn't know about me?
  7. Xibalba macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Indiana, USA
    I am all for any technology that will help improve the care of my patients.

    Remember that Google Health (at this time) only has the information that you provide. Sure, privacy is a risk, so if you are that concerned about how the information could ever be used against you, then don't provide that information.

    Simply adding your current medications and allowing your physician or family member (esp for the elderly) access to this list could do wonders for keeping medication lists updated across multiple providers (primary care, ER, and other specialists).

    Part of Health Care Reform will (and has already) include significant changes in electronic health records, so insurances may soon (next few years) be requiring that patients maintain certain records in patient-centered databases that physician and hospital EHRs could interface with.

    Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault are currently the largest two patient-oriented health information systems at this time. And I do agree with the paranoid here - two very powerful companies amassing very powerful information.
  8. rented mule macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2006
    Please don't mention that you have a small penis on Google Health because, man, Google will bombard you with penis pill ads.
  9. DotComCTO macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2006
    I agree it's important for physicians to have easier access to important data about their patients, but recognize that Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault rely on patient entered information that may not be entirely accurate or up-to-date. Even Microsoft says, "Keep in mind that the information in your account may not always be accurate or up-to-date and isn't meant to be used directly by healthcare providers for diagnosis or treatment. Information should always be evaluated and re-confirmed based on independent judgment."

    So, how would you - as someone that has patients - use this type of data?

    But let's say that all the data there is perfect and up-to-date. Shouldn't Google and Microsoft comply with HIPAA policies? While Microsoft's privacy policy on Health Vault seems much better and clearer that Google's, these privacy policies lack any "teeth". There are no penalties if Microsoft or Google make an error, but under HIPAA, there would be. Plus there are all sorts of other regulatory/audit requirements.


  10. Furrybeagle macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2004
    Can someone enlighten me as to what the point of Google Health actually is? It seems like it just stores your data... why is that any better than keeping that info in a document on your computer, where you have full control over where it is and where it goes. It's not like Google Health can actually be used by physicians, right? :confused:
  11. Xibalba macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Indiana, USA
    Good comments.

    "Patient-entered" or supplied information is all you really have most of the time anyways when you are treating patients in the medical profession. If I am seeing a patient in the ER, a new patient at the office, or even a regular patient of mine every few months and they have seen a few specialists since our last visit, I inquire of what medications they are taking or new diagnoses they may have. Patients also quit taking medications all the time because they forget to refill or can't afford the medication and never tell anyone. Also, requesting records from other doctors or hospitals takes time and are almost never available at point-of-care so we have to take the patients' word. That is why many times I will ask that certain patients bring in all their pill bottles they are taking at each visit.

    Thus, if someone will attempt to update their information in a centralized location like Google Health or MS Health Vault - I gladly welcome that. You would be surprised how many people try to make lists to keep in their wallets or purses but still get things quite mixed up on meds and doses.

    As far as HIPPA is concerned - almost every person in the medical industry despises HIPPA and it is even treated as a dirty or bad word in a mocking manner. Patient care is compromised all the time due to HIPPA constraints as well. Thus I don't really care about HIPPA compliancy but would definitely like to have these companies follow some type of privacy guidelines obviously to protect individuals' private data.

  12. DEVILMAYCRY99 macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2009
    I agree that the terms look too scary to use Google Health. It seems like a great concept if it weren't for that.

    I'd love to be able to store information about me and my family that I could easily find from anywhere. Even after...heaven forbid, I move on to another phone someday!

Share This Page