Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Health Opens To the Public

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the take-two-aspirin-and-don't-call-me-ever dept.

Google 199

Several readers noted that the limited pilot test of Google Health has ended, and Google is now offering the service to the public at large. Google Health allows patients to enter health information, such as conditions and prescriptions, find related medical information, and share information with their health care providers (at the patient's request). Information may be entered manually or imported from partnered health care providers. The service is offered free of charge, and Google won't be including advertising. The WSJ and the NYTimes provide details about Google's numerous health partners.

cancel ×

199 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Privacy (5, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480468)

I for one won't be using it while their terms of service explicitly states that HIPAA doesn't apply to Google.

Re:Privacy (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480798)

How do I opt-out?

Maybe the laws need to be re-written.
I can't imagine that Federal & State Law foresaw 3rd party control of medical files.

Exactly (4, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480854)

You don't opt out. You have to sign up and opt in for them to get your records.

I agree 100% with GP. I even wrote Google to that effect. Not that I expect them to do anything with my feedback other than send it to the bitbucket.

This is a horrible, horrible precedent to set, allowing a 3rd party to have access to people's medical records without any protection under the law.

HIPPA *does* need to be updated, immediately, to cover online databases.

Re:Exactly (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481102)

You don't opt out. You have to sign up and opt in for them to get your records.
Where does their privacy policy say anything about that?
If your medical provider decides to send your records to Google, AFAIK, there is jack squat you can do.

The only place "opt-in" gets mentioned is on their page for "Third-Party Developer Policies".

You misunderstand HIPPA (5, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481126)

Your medical provider is covered by HIPPA and CANNOT release your records to a third party without your consent. When you go to a new doctor they generally make you sign something saying they can share it with your insurance company, who also cannot share it with Google without your consent.

The way Google Health works is you give them your data and they store it.

Re:Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481312)

I was under the impression that HIPAA does cover online access...

At least my employer seems to think so, and they're in the kind of business where they should definitely know.

Re:Exactly (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481362)

Only online access provided by medical providers that are explicitly covered under the Act. This new generation of info-providers such as Google, MS, etc. are NOT covered by HIPPA. Even the Government has said so (link is posted elsewhere in this discussion by someone).

Re:Exactly (2, Informative)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481572)

Only online access provided by medical providers that are explicitly covered under the Act. This new generation of info-providers such as Google, MS, etc. are NOT covered by HIPPA. Even the Government has said so (link is posted elsewhere in this discussion by someone).
That is the third time in a row you've referred to the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) [wikipedia.org] as "HIPPA", even after being corrected by someone else. Is there some reason you keep doing this?

Re:Privacy (1)

blondieeng (895888) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480868)

At first glance this seems more private than what I experienced at Walgreens yesterday. After filling out my name, address, the date, and signing the paper, this pharmacy handed over my prescription drug history (on paper) without asking first to see my ID.

Re:Privacy (1)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480876)

That's because... HIPAA doesn't apply to Google by nature of the law of HIPAA. You know absolutely nothing about the actual letter of HIPAA law by making a statement such as yours.

Re:Privacy (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480940)

That's because... HIPAA doesn't apply to Google by nature of the law of HIPAA.
That was... sort of the point.

Re:Privacy (2, Informative)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481686)

Google does not provide medical services, which is why they are not bound to the provisions of HIPAA. HIPPA is a regulation of privacy and portability for providers of medical services, not for companies that act as a storage medium for your personal health information. If people use Excel to store their medical records, will Microsoft somehow be responsible for complying with HIPAA? Of course not.

Re:Privacy (0, Troll)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482130)

Google does not provide medical services, which is why they are not bound to the provisions of HIPAA. HIPPA is a regulation of privacy and portability for providers of medical services, not for companies that act as a storage medium for your personal health information.
Yeah, we know this thanks for repeating this piece of information that has already been posted a dozen times or more by now. The point is the fact that some people aren't going to feel very safe having their records being stored with no HIPAA protections. I'm sorry but Google's privacy policy, which can be changed at their whim, doesn't cut it.

If people use Excel to store their medical records, will Microsoft somehow be responsible for complying with HIPAA? Of course not.
Because storing stuff in a local Excel file is definitely the same as having your personal records being sent over the Internet. Yep, clearly the same thing. Next thing you know we shouldn't have any protection on any data because you know, I could have that same data stored on a local file. Moron.

Re:Privacy (4, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480980)

I for one won't be using it while their terms of service explicitly states that HIPAA doesn't apply to Google.

I don't trust Google. I'm of the opinion that companies have to obey the rules/laws of government. I'd rather "trust" the government if they said that HIPAA doesn't apply to Google rather than Google saying that HIPAA doesn't apply to them. There is a part of me that actually hopes that Google gets slapped by the government for violating HIPAA.

Re:Privacy (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481128)

Okay, here is the government telling you that HIPAA doesn't apply to Google [hhs.gov] . Google isn't a health care provider, nor is it a health care insurance plan, nor is it a health care clearinghouse, by the legal definitions of those terms (check the law if you like), so, no, HIPAA most certainly does not apply to Google or any other company or entity providing a similar service.

Re:Privacy (1)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481856)

Partly they are under skirting this law. Because it is just a place to store data and you can agree to store the data or have it put there.
But I agree that this is really a bad idea.
This would be equivalent to Chase bank using a third party to store financial information. They can just declare that to use web financing you have to agree to using the third party for storage of information.
There probably are laws against storing financial information in this manner, but maybe not health information.

Don't worry, in 10 or 15 years this will be common and nobody but a few people with tin foil hats will care.
But marketing wise, Linday Lohan and Britney Spears would be a great spokes people.

Re:Privacy (3, Informative)

jdray (645332) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481134)

For those who don't want to go digging for the crunchy bits:

If you create, transmit, or display health or other information while using Google Health, you may provide only information that you own or have the right to use. 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.

Re:Privacy (1)

Ginnungagap (1232474) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481258)

Actually, as Moore's law is rapidly approaching it's conclusion; why don't we rather make systems for storing and sharing such information from personal, or even internalized devices?
It would be safer from exploit in your own possession, and you'd personally have to authorize access to any piece of data,
especially so if it's an item that you carry around with you.

Now this might pose a risk or a problem for less experienced users, but I can't see it not working for an entire generation grown up with information technology.

Re:Privacy (2, Informative)

fluffman86 (1006119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481304)

Correct, HIPAA doesn't apply to Google, but you should definitely read the differences between Google's Privacy Policy and HIPAA.

http://www.google.com/health_hipaa.html [google.com]

Looks to me like Google is more private than HIPAA.

Re:Privacy (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481310)

Your doctors won't be using it either, as the terms of service are pretty much incompatible with legal requirements of any real medical record. For instance, doctors are required by various states' laws to maintain their records for some number of years after you are no longer an active patient which is incompatible with the ability to "revoke" the doctor's access to your record, and looking at the developers' TOS [google.com] , this revocation power is required to be supported in any product that interfaces with Google Health, so if your doctor uses a fancy computerized chart and has it automatically load up with information from Google Health, the patient is supposed to have the power to pull your information back out of there... talk about an enormous legal minefield!

From many people's perspectives, this kind of tool (in general, called a "Personal Health Record"... Google is far from the first one) is a really neat idea: you can be sure that the information about yourself is accurate and up to date by yourself, and you can share it with multiple providers (say, if you want to switch doctors, or if you have a general practitioner and a specialist or two) without having to wait (and pay) for illegible handwritten medical records to be even more illegibly faxed around and around. From every single doctors' perspective, though, once you give them medical data (whether online, on a thumb drive, or by mouth), it goes in your chart and it stays there, no takebacks allowed.

Personally, I think I'll fill mine up with all sorts of terminal illnesses, not share it with anyone, and see how long it takes before adsense sites start showing me ads for cancer treatment and pain killers.

Wow (1, Insightful)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480472)

I'm quite torn here. On the one hand, having so much information readily available in one spot is rather exciting. This is especially true if Google doesn't just cave in to "Big Pharma" and allows you to see "alternative" or "herbal" remedies for prescriptions or OTC drugs you have entered.

OTHO, Google having all that information about my medical condition in one place is somewhat disturbing... Aside from rational or irrational fears about Google having this information, aren't there HIPPA issues to be concerned about here, too?

Re:Wow (2, Interesting)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480570)

What bothers me is that all this is built on top of tcp/ip, and that is inherently insecure.
Given that there exists hardware to inspect packets for p2p traffic, how hard would it be to for a person of unpleasant intent to get hold of some of that and start mining 'encrypted' health information.

I can see it now, 'want to get health insurance again? Pay us x dollars or we expose condition y to your health insurance provider.'

Come to think of it, all they'd need to do is pretend they had the info, someone would be bound to be hiding a condition they could hit with random emails.

Re:Wow (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480734)

Last I checked that would be extortion, or something similar.

If we don't believe in our system of laws, we might as well blow it all up and start from scratch.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23480782)

What bothers me is that all this is built on top of tcp/ip, and that is inherently insecure.

Maybe you've heard of this nifty technology called SSL? Where your tcp/ip packets are encrypted using strong cryptography so that they can't be decypted without hundreds thousands of ocomputers working for hundreds of thousands of years?

There are many reasons not to trust google with your health info, but tcp/ip isn't one of them.

Next time you're in a doctor's office or hospital, look around and see how difficult it is to walk out with paper files.

Re:Wow (1)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480824)

I just joined, but have not entered any data - it runs using HTTPS, not HTTP

Re:Wow (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480916)

I can see it now, 'want to get health insurance again? Pay us x dollars or we expose condition y to your health insurance provider.'
Many States have laws that prevent an insurer from charging sick people a higher premium.
In other words, if you are in their State, you have to follow their rules, and their rules say your price isn't affected by "condition y".

On a related note, I read an article [slate.com] stating that part of a McCain proposal would allow insurance companies to change their legal residency for the purpose of using another State's insurance rules. In other words, a New York insurance company can pay taxes in Arizona and use their insurance rules.

Re:Wow (0, Troll)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481140)

Good--this is necessary. You have states like Maine, with absolutely draconian rules (because the party in power desperately wants to enforce a single-payer system and drive out all the other insurers), and this is a great way to tell them to fuck off.

Laws to prevent insurers from charging sick people extra are potentially dangerous, but even if not--they should be federal, not state-by-state.

Re:Wow (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481780)

Laws to prevent insurers from charging sick people extra are potentially dangerous, but even if not--they should be federal, not state-by-state.
Can you explain? I'm not disagreeing, I just want to see your reasoning.

Re:Wow (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482064)

Can you explain? I'm not disagreeing, I just want to see your reasoning.
People who are sick will cost an insurer more. Thus, it is unreasonable for an insurer to close his eyes and go "dah dah dah, I don't know about it!".

That's for new insurance policies, of course; if you get sick and the insurer wants to raise rates, fuck 'im in the ear.

Re:Wow (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482116)

Er. Forgot to address the other part. With regards to state-or-federal--I'm just growing sick and tired of all the different laws between the states--standardize!

it worked so well with credit cards and usury laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481952)

Ever wondered why so many credit cards are issued by companies "in" the usury-friendly state of Delaware?

http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/cc/20020320a.asp/ [bankrate.com]

Et voila -- zero protection for credit card consumers because state's are prohibited from protecting consumers and the federal government has willfuly chosen not to. In fact, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999 not only chose not to protect consumers it stripped the only state which still was protecting consumer (Arkansas) of its right to do so.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481964)

I would like to hear your stance on this when you are older and sick.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482042)

Right, so you want Florida insurers using Minnesota's hurricane coverage laws? That's not a necessary policy, it's idiocy. Conditions differ from state to state, and states should be able to regulate businesses operating in their state that greatly affect public well-being in their state.

Re:Wow (1)

Janos421 (1136335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481628)

Many States have laws that prevent an insurer from charging sick people a higher premium. In other words, if you are in their State, you have to follow their rules, and their rules say your price isn't affected by "condition y".
It won't be that obvious. We can imagine that the insurer asks to Google "Display my Ad words with a special offer ( e.g :a reduction of 20% on the price) only to users which are not affected by conditions x-y-z".

And the insurance can raise the official price so affected users will pay a premium. The effect is the same, but they respect the law.

Re:Wow (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481238)

Given that there exists hardware to inspect packets for p2p traffic, how hard would it be to for a person of unpleasant intent to get hold of some of that and start mining 'encrypted' health information.
It's true that one can identify encrypted protocols by doing traffic analysis: take the mean and variance of packet size and delay in both directions, and you got 8 dimensions; look at those 8 for a set of known protocols, and find the nearest match for your unknown stream; also, the number of similar-looking connections could be used if you can watch that (say, you're the ISP or otherwise close to the sender).

However, there's a difference between saying "this is bittorrent" and "this is {wow-update.exe,ubuntu.iso,elephantsdream.avi} transmitted over bittorrent". Similarly for health records. Since we're talking about a web service, any encryption is likely to be https/SSL. Assuming different kinds of https can be distinguished, the adversary might learn that this is "health records". That's a far cry from learning "pneumonia".

So unless the crypto gets broken, assuming crypto is used and applied correctly, I wouldn't start pulling the old tin foil hat out of the closet.

What bothers me is that all this is built on top of tcp/ip, and that is inherently insecure.
Unless you do a proof by semantic shift, https is "built on top of tcp/ip", and therefor inherently insecure. The same goes for ssh. Do you really think https and ssh are insecure?

Re:Wow (1)

smudge (79563) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481934)

Insurance companies can deny someone insurance for a "pre-existing" condition. So once you are diagnosed with cancer/heart disease/HIV/etc you can't switch companies. A friend of mine got turned down because she was pregnant at the time she was looking for health insurance. (yes, she should have looked before ...)

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480814)

And I don't want them caving into "big infomercial" sleazeballs that tell use phrases like "Big Pharma" to try and persuade potential customers to buy their scientifically unproven snake oil instead.

Re:Wow (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23480960)

especially true if Google doesn't just cave in to "Big Pharma" and allows you to see "alternative" or "herbal" remedies for prescriptions or OTC drugs you have entered.



Someone was bound to say something stupid like that I suppose.

There is no such thing as "alternative" medicine. There is just tested science based medicine and complete bullshit "alternative" and "herbal" remedies sold to suckers that ought to know better if they know how to use a search engine.

Alternative my arse.

Now, buried in the myriad witch doctor potions both harmless and harmful, is there a particular plant that the Mayans found cured syphilis? Probably. But until it is tested and found to work, you should not be effin around with it.

Is Big Pharma a bleedin nightmare that does all sorts of nasty corporate shit? Yes, but they also produce scientifically tested drugs that only go wrong if the testing wasn't quite right. Getting the testing right is extremely difficult and sometimes we still get bad drugs, but how giving up tested drugs in favor of random made up BS is a better idea is beyond me.

Things need to change in US health care and drug production, but replacing it with stupid hippie feel good crap isn't what is needed.

If Google wanted to list "alternative" remedies then they don't need a database, they just need to randomly select a web page and print it. Perhaps they could send people to ncreview.com [ncreview.com] where they can buy a book explaining how to ask their dead pets about it?

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481040)

This is especially true if Google doesn't just cave in to "Big Pharma" and allows you to see "alternative" or "herbal" remedies for prescriptions or OTC drugs you have entered.
Ugh, I hope Google Health doesn't become such a nexus of snake oil salesmen. Hopefully they will have minimum requirements for the scientific accuracy of medical claims to weed out this nonsense. If you want to be peddled placebos, just stick to Kevin Trudeau and his ilk's infomercials. We don't need Google Health to be infected with such a taint.

Re:Wow (5, Funny)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481322)

I had a cold, had some herbal medicine, a few days later my cold was gone. Explain that!

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481438)

I had a cold, had some herbal medicine, a few days later my cold was gone.
I had a cold, didn't take a placebo, a few days later my cold was also gone.

Explain that!
Your immune system did it's job. That's what it's there for.

Re:Wow (1)

Silkejr (856308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482246)

There's numerous good clinical studies on substances like Echinacea that show that it boosts immune response to things like upper respiratory infections and other symptoms of a cold. Not that there haven't been bad studies done too, but to just discount the possible effects of natural products simply on the basis that they're not made by a pharmaceutical company is absurd.

Re:Wow (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481496)

In my humble opinion, Kevin Trudeau is not a snake oil salesman right now.

I have tried one of his remedies, hot peppers to boost your metabolism, and it worked. I only got fat again because I couldn't take the heat.

He has also spoken with Dr. Robert Barefoot, a good doctor who deals with calcium deficiencies and discovered a connection between acidic pH and bad health.

Case in point: Barefoot ran the pH test on patients in a hospital. It was a sickly yellow color, and he believed the test failed. As it turns out, he was in the terminal cancer ward, so his test was right on the mark.

I don't know Trudeau personally, however, I doubt that Barefoot would be associating with him if he were even half the charlatan that the Big-Pharma-Ad-Dollar-Funded media makes him out to be.

Re:Wow (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481566)

In my humble opinion, Kevin Trudeau is not a snake oil salesman right now.
Then you clearly have no medical or scientific training.

He has also spoken with Dr. Robert Barefoot, a good doctor who deals with calcium deficiencies and discovered a connection between acidic pH and bad health.
Hahahaha. People still believe this nonsense? Your body needs to have an acidic pH for you to be healthy.

Case in point: Barefoot ran the pH test on patients in a hospital. It was a sickly yellow color, and he believed the test failed. As it turns out, he was in the terminal cancer ward, so his test was right on the mark.
Every human being has an acidic pH level. That's fucking normal. It's hilarious how easy people get duped by such nonsense.

I don't know Trudeau personally, however, I doubt that Barefoot would be associating with him if he were even half the charlatan that the Big-Pharma-Ad-Dollar-Funded media makes him out to be.
Except for the fact that Barefoot is an even bigger charlatan and as such has no qualms about working with Trudeau.

Re:Wow (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481764)

Oops I guess I was wrong on the pH thing. The body apparently keeps us at a 7.4 level. But in response to Bob's claim, which is still nonsense, I direct you to Quackwatch talking about Bob's claims about testing people and the relevance of calcium to one's body pH:

Testing the pH level of the saliva is the most reliable test of calcium deficiency and can also tell the state of a person's health. Testing saliva has no practical value in evaluating general health. The level is usually similar to blood pH, which the body keeps within a narrow range. When the saliva flow is high, the pH is usually about 7.4 (7 is neutral, low numbers are acid, and higher numbers are alkaline). Calcium intake does not affect the pH of saliva. The most common cause of low (acid) salivary pH is the presence in the mouth of bacteria that cause cavities. In diseases (such as diabetic acidosis) in which blood pH is dangerously low, the level is determined by blood pH testing and calcium pills have no relevance to treatment.
Bolded part is the part written by the author. http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/DSH/coral.html [quackwatch.org]

Re:Wow (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481866)

And to quote even more since I forgot to put this in:

"Over 200 degenerative diseases are caused by calcium deficiency. That includes cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, you name it." These diseases are caused by acidosis--acidification of the body--lack of minerals, especially calcium. When you start taking coral calcium, your body alkalizes and drives out the acid [5 ]. All of these statements are incorrect. Calcium deficiency can weaken bones (osteoporosis), but it does not make the body more acidic or cause a wide range of diseases. The idea that calcium supplements (or dietary strategies) can change the acidity of the body is nonsense. The only acid level that diet or supplements can modify is the degree of acidity (pH) of the urine [6].
Emphasis added to the last line by me. BTW enjoy paying a dollar a pill for 5 cents worth of calcium carbonate. I'm know Bob's bank account thanks you.

Re:Wow (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481904)

Bah. For anything drug-related, you'll find hundreds of big-pharma studies saying their pills are the only thing that'll cure you, and hundreds of other studies saying their pills will do nothing but kill ya. Personally, I love big pharma...but only for recreational purposes. When I actually wanna get better, I do it the good 'ol fashioned way - rest, tea, herbs, and a bit of amateur meditation. Of course, natural cures doesn't always mean weird plant roots pills and such (Though Valerian Root is amazing stuff)...One of the best treatments for the cold is honey. Been known and used for thousands of years. Tea too. How long has Tylenol been around? Personally, I'd trust the ones with the long and proven track record. Especially when you look at some of the things Big Pharma has given us...like Ambien, the most commonly prescribed sleep aid...which also happens to get people thrown in jail for things they do while sleepwalking (things such as driving their car into a tree and assaulting a police office). And it's no wonder why - it's a hallucinogen! But hey, what do I know, I'm just some random guy on slashdot.

Re:Wow (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481994)

I never said that the pharmaceutical companies where the saints of the earth and they clearly aren't. But the difference between them and the Kevin Trudeaus of the world is they actually have to prove the effectiveness and safety of their drugs. On the other hand, the "herbalists" and "naturalists" get to sell millions of overpriced placebos in an unregulated market and rake in billions annually. If you want to line their pockets ever more, have fun with that. I'll stick to things that have a scientific foundation to them.

Re:Wow (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482254)

Well, personally I fully agree with your assessment of Kevin Trudeau. That guy's an idiot. But Big Pharma's just as bad. Yes, they have the money to run tests and trials and see what happens - but that doesn't mean they actually give a damn about what their drugs do, as I think is pretty clear from all the problems caused by Ambien (just picking on that one because I know it fairly well...I'm sure there are plenty of other examples.)

Most of the herbal remedies are based on things that have been used for thousands of years. And I find they're generally cheaper - even if you go for the expensive vegetarian gel-caps, valerian is still cheaper than Unisom. But there are very few herbals that I actually buy from any sort of drug company. I don't really trust any of them, and I only buy there when I have no other easy option. Generally I either buy in bulk online or as food products from any grocery store (tea, honey, etc)

You do have to figure out what works for you. There's some experimentation involved. But even if it is just a placebo effect (which I know most of what I use isn't), it still works. If it doesn't...then just don't buy it again. Oh, and there's also some natural cures that can be done without buying anything. Things like meditation and brainwave entrainment. While personally I've had very limited success with them for anything other than a sleep aid (much better than Diphenhydramine or any of the prescription ones), they seem to work wonders for some people...and as I said, you gotta find what works for you.

Uh oh... (4, Funny)

getto man d (619850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480478)

I can see "Need Liver or Kidneys?" coming about in the recommended searches.

Re:Uh oh... (4, Funny)

Pyrrus (97830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480548)

I'm concerned about what happens when they combine information about who has healthy kidneys with streetview. And put google ads offering discounts on bathtubs and ice.

Re:Uh oh... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480572)

I don't think it's legal for Google to advertise for human body parts. I can see a lot of travel firms advertising for trips to Mexico on this site, however.

Re:Uh oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23480584)

What I fear more is if they reintroduce ads:

Kidneys $500.00 Freshly imported [google checkout link]
Fresh Kidneys. Feed your Passion now on Ebay.com

etc...

Re:Uh oh... (1)

Jerajdai (1221128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481492)

And I'm sure those "recommended searches" will redirect to ebay.

Umm (1)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480494)

Should I be afraid yet?

Re:Umm (1)

pha7boy (1242512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480694)

not afraid... just worried. and wary.

Oh? (2, Insightful)

Joseph1337 (1146047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480524)

Sure put you confidential health data to a company that will give them away for on a simple whim of any goverment, probarly without you knowing about it. Great

I don't feel good, time for Google! (2, Funny)

hyperz69 (1226464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480550)

Let's enter, Chest Pain, Left Arm Numb, Smells of Toast! Ohhh I can earn 950 a day working at home... Let's click that... hey I won a free Ipod... today is my luc. *beeeeeeeeeeeeep*

So (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480592)

Still blindly trust Google?

This is actually Google's spam fighting measure (3, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480600)

All people needing viagra will be notified of cheap imported viagra by Google, and the spammers will lose all their market!

Just wait till you hear about the plan they have to go after the Nigerian 409 scammers.

April Fools, right (1)

hey (83763) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480604)

This reads like a joke.

Google Organ Search (2, Interesting)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480628)

I'm getting ready to start googling for an organ doner when my liver finally gives up on me.

Disclaimer Needed (2, Interesting)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480636)

Hopefully people will be smart enough to go visit a real doctor, rather than listen to the internet about all their life's little concerns. Sometimes symptoms may be generic to multiple conditions and self diagnosis can do more harm than help. Maybe this will set Darwinism to work at it's full potential.

Re:Disclaimer Needed (3, Interesting)

Kimos (859729) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481678)

In my Canadian province we have a government funded public health nurse phone line line. It exists for people to phone in and speak to a nurse about whatever health problem they're having, and the nurse can give advice on over the counter medication or home treatments, but will always differ to "go see a doctor" as needed. They keep a record of your calls so you can follow up on advice given and changes in your condition. It's really a very good service.

It exists to alleviate line ups in walk-in clinics and emergency rooms by keeping some of the people with less serious problems from having to go down and see a doctor. This service looks like it will serve a similar purpose.

Re:Disclaimer Needed (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481736)

on the other hand, many times doctors aren't very good at seeing the problem either. After all, they can't feel your pain, they can only take your description. Resources that allow you to educate yourself a bit so that you have a proper background and know better *what* to tell and ask your doctor are helpful. At least they always have been for me. I'd much rather go to massage therapy to deal with this nerve problem I'm having than have surgery or a cortisone injection (yes, the ortho doctor, despite not seeing much more than a little irritation in an MRI suggested both of these! No way!)

google information horde (5, Insightful)

pha7boy (1242512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480676)

so, google will have your surfing profile, your financial information, tons of images of you, your house, your friends, your networks, and how will add to it your health information. You know, Big Brother can be a government, but it can also be a corporation. Even one that claims not to do any evil.

Re:google information horde (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480756)

I don't do anything over email that I care about Google knowing about. Especially relative to whatever other email provider.

That said, they can have my health information when my health care provider gives it to them without my permission.

Re:google information horde (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480790)

Please to define how Google can possibly "be" Big Brother.

Unless you're paranoid.

I'm an anarcho and I find the average posting in this thread nuts. :)

Re:google information horde (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23480970)

Please to define how Google can possibly "be" Big Brother.

Unless you're paranoid.

Well, here's a pretty cool story that illustrates some of the ways in which we could all wind up Scroogled [radaronline.com] .

Paranoia? Of course not. Trust the Google. The Google is your friend.

"Only the paranoid survive."
- Andy Grove, Ultraviolet Clearance Troubleshooter, Intel.

Re:google information horde (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481038)

the government uses ChoicePoint for it's information needs to bypass laws that prohibit it from gathering data on citizens. Google health can end up selling health data to anyone who asks for any reason

Re:google information horde (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481744)

Today's paranoia is tomorrow's foresight

Our health is google's wealth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23480696)

We havent had enough with pharma companies telling us what drugs to take on TV. Now we can have them sending targeted ads so we can tell our doctor what drugs we need!
Not just that, any company can get our health history and use that against us!

Looks like (our) health is (google's) wealth after all!

Re:Our health is google's wealth (2, Funny)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480762)

I didn't realize it was mandatory for US citizens to use this service.

Good to know.

Also good to know that companies will be using our health history against us. Because they all care about us, individually.

Yes, it has advertising, through "affiliates". (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480724)

Yes, Google Health supports advertising. Spamming, even. Read the developer guidelines. [google.com] Google just doesn't run the ads themselves. That's outsourced to "affiliates".

There are some rules for affiliates, like "one spam per week per user" and "no popups or popunders". Other than that, consumers are fair game. In particular, affiliates are not prohibited from using Google health data to target ads, as long as they "disclose" that somewhere in their "privacy policy". The policy says "Only use Google Health user data for the purposes disclosed in your privacy policy, and obtain users' opt-in consent if personally identifiable health data will be used for ad targeting." So a bit of fine print, and the affiliate 0wns your health history.

It's a typical slimeball tactic - pretend to be the good guy, encourage "affiliates" to do the bad stuff.

Re:Yes, it has advertising, through "affiliates". (1)

d3l33t (1106803) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480892)

Slimeball or bad business practice? I think the name of the game is profits, how otherwise do you suggest they do that?

Re:Yes, it has advertising, through "affiliates". (5, Informative)

dmr001 (103373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481096)

Oy vey, you folks need to take a step back. The above guidelines refer to other service providers that users can opt in to and share their history with. Google is simply limiting their ability to annoy you, should you choose to opt in.

And, Google isn't protecting your information via HIPAA because it can't - it's not a "covered entity" under the definition [hhs.gov] outlined in the law. (That is, they aren't a health provider, billing clearinghouse, or health plan.) Instead, they provide the Google Health Privacy Policy [google.com] , which seems pretty reasonable. Like HIPAA, it allows them to disclose information when it seems like the government (US, in this case, as that's where the service is limited to) compels it. Before you get hot and bothered, HIPAA allows this too - it's how we tell get to CPS about abused children, for example.

I'm not new here, but I'm used to Slashdot readers being somewhat more informed before having a fit. As a covered entity myself (I'm a physician), I look forward to the day when the patients who come in saying they doubled the pink pills but lost the yellow ones they took for that surgery to remove that thigamajig have a hope of a secure information repository to clarify their history, and potentially save their bacon.

Re:Yes, it has advertising, through "affiliates". (2, Funny)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481208)

but I'm used to Slashdot readers being somewhat more informed before having a fit.
Since when did this ever happen? I think you're making stuff up.

Re:Yes, it has advertising, through "affiliates". (1)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481890)

I'm still trying to figure out their angle on this. I don't know enough about the health care industry to say yet. What I DO know is what Google says in their FAQ [google.com] :

1. Why is Google offering this product?
A: It's what we do...

6. If it's free, how does Google make money off Google Health?
...There are no ads in Google Health. Our primary focus is providing a good user experience and meeting our users' needs.

So they're just being nice guys I guess.

What I also found is... Health Care is a $2 Trillion industry [zdnet.com] , and that the industry spends $30 billion per year [aidshealth.org] on marketing.

If Google cannot be up front about their motives, how can I trust them to be discrete with my medical records?

I think this is a lousy idea and I doubt it'll work. But the upside potential is so huge it's becoming easy to see why they made the investment.

missing drug side effects (5, Interesting)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480772)

I am dealing with a rare side effect from a fluoroquinolone, (think cipro, levaquin) called peripheral neuropathy. I plugged the antibiotic into google health and the side effect was not listed on the package insert. While its good to have drug interactions listed, lots of people have side effects from drugs and they need to be explicitly spelled out, not hiding in a sub menu.

I know for a fact that there is explicit warnings on the packages about this particular reaction and I'm livid it isn't warning about it on the package insert in google. Especially since it can be permanent.

I've racked up a couple thousand dollars in medical bills already from this side effect, and it was a pain to get doctors to admit it happened until I went to a major university hospital. At that hospital they diagnosed me right away and basically said I'd have to wait it out.

If you are curious, basically I couldn't walk for over a week, terrible joint pain for months along with numbness in my hands, face, and body. Its a known side effect with this class. Rare, but known.

Insane tracking obsession (1)

gnupun (752725) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480834)

Who the hell wants their private medical info accessible to anyone around the world with the right password?

If anything, there should be less tracking, or only tracking of things that are relevant to future treatment. This insane desire of big brother to know, own and control everyone should be stopped.

Google won't be including advertising (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480898)

yet?

"How does Google make money off Google Health?" (5, Insightful)

kiscica (89316) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480906)

6. If it's free, how does Google make money off Google Health?
Much like other Google products we offer, Google Health is free to anyone who uses it. There are no ads in Google Health. Our primary focus is providing a good user experience and meeting our users' needs.


I've heard enough. I don't know what their long-term plan for monetizing Google Health is, and I don't really care now. I don't trust Google enough to consider even for a second entrusting my health care information to them (and I say this as someone who has thought very highly of the company since the beginning). And their weasly answer to the obvious question above, I think, justifies my mistrust.

Every for-profit company's primary focus is - making a profit. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with this, and the ideal situation arises when "providing a good user experience and meeting [...] users' needs" is aligned with the profit motive.

So why they can't be honest about their motivations in undertaking an expensive, large-scale project like this -- whatever those motivations are -- instead of trying to make us believe that they're doing it "out of the goodness of their hearts?" All their mealy-mouthedness accomplishes is to raise the suspicion that they've got something nasty up their sleeves. And that ensures that many users, including me, will never entrust their most private of private data to Google.

Re:"How does Google make money off Google Health?" (1)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 6 years ago | (#23480990)

Totally agree with this. The public is getting wise to the fact that all these hippie-dippie-mushy-love "free" stuff that companies provide on the internet.....all have the motivation of money behind them. Even a company like Google, who won people over with the notion of nobility is now passed that point.

it's incredibly insulting that they would give an answer like that.

Re:"How does Google make money off Google Health?" (5, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481774)

And you trust your health insurance companies? Their sole purpose is to make profit. We'd be much much better off without them, paying doctors and hospitals directly.

Re:"How does Google make money off Google Health?" (1)

Temposs (787432) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482016)

And you trust your health insurance companies? Their sole purpose is to make profit. We'd be much much better off without them, paying doctors and hospitals directly.
True, however, for what it's worth, at least insurance companies are regulated to some extent by the government, while as has been mentioned, Google is not held under the same restrictions that insurance companies are.

Google Sex Life (2, Funny)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481006)

Thats the service I want to see offered. With the posting of photos and movie clips allowed. They can build a virtual community of porno providers and consumers. Wait- thats YouTube.

Re:Google Sex Life (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481094)

No, that's Xtube.com

Yay! (1)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481030)

Another opportunity for Google to do evil!

Privacy...sure (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481062)

After the way Google ratted out that guy who drew an unflattering picture of some Hindu saint and he got beaten and forced to eat out of the same bowl he'd used as a toilet, I think I'll pass on Google Health.

Having them turn any information I was stupid enough to give them over to an insurance company, cop, nosy government official or random thug on the street wouldn't be all that good for my health.

Let's see an iron-clad, carved-in-stone, sue-for-millions commitment from them and maybe we can talk. Otherwise, I'd just be begging to get myself hurt when they rolled over on me because some slimy insurance company whined that they didn't have enough access to my personal life.

And the big deal is.. what? (1, Informative)

josquint (193951) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481078)

so the first paragraph of the EULA:

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.

Re:And the big deal is.. what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481384)

If Google was covered by HIPAA, then you or I could do a lot more to them if they break the EULA.

What can I do to Google if they break the EULA now, sue? Sure that's great but while I'm going broke (because Google could keep something like that in the courts for years until basically I didn't have the resources to continue), my private information still would have been shared with a company or individuals I didn't designate to share the information with.

Re:And the big deal is.. what? (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481396)

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.

Weasel words... (2, Interesting)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481508)

These documents and subdocuments are so full of weasel words, Google could practically do anything they want. Example:

However, Google may only use health information you provide as permitted by the Google Health Privacy Policy, your Sharing Authorization, and applicable law.

"YOU did not provide this information. Your doctor's office provided the information, so it is exempt from these policies."

See? It took me just a quick glance to find a huge conditional that is subject to interpretation. Don't think that companies wouldn't make that argument. And Google does not have an "evil policy", so we don't have a "promise" that they'll not interpret things in a manner we didn't expect.

And that was just one example.

Where are the Google employees? (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481184)

I'm waiting for someone to start defending with these gems:

"Your confidential information is and always will be secure and treated with respect."
"The benefits of big databases are worth the risks."
"Trust us."

Private information (1)

cyberzephyr (705742) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481746)

Hey,

Why don't we all just give them blood samples and fingerprints too? It will make it easier for all us sheep follow the herd!

Look, i use Google and i like a lot of their stuff but enough is enough.

Compatible with traditional insurance? (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481998)

Having your records online and available anywhere is great, but also requires that you trust the third party hosting them. This is one of the hurdles that hosted software companies have to overcome to get companies to sign up. In the case of something like Salesforce.com, you give up control of your CRM data, pay them a fee and hope that they don't get hacked or decide to start selling your data under the table.

This issue gets thorny when you deal with personal data like medical records. Insurance companies would love to get their hands on something like this, even on an unoffical basis. For most people covered by group health plans at work, insurers have to take the risk and insure everybody who applies from that group. Individual life and health insurance is a whole different matter. In many states, your insurer is allowed to charge more to insure sicker people. In the case of life insurance, certain conditions make it nearly impossible to buy insurance.

On the flip side, having a comprehensive electronic medical record would lower the cost of care significantly by eliminating all the paper shuffling and processing needed to check someone's history.

Think about what might happen if Google decides to sell Google Health to Aetna or United Healthcare someday in the future. They couldn't deny you officially, but could have a look at what you're posted in the past and find some other reason to deny you coverage.

That's not to say the idea of an electronic medical record is bad. It's just more comparible with a non-free-market health care system. If there was no incentive for someone to use the records to determine cost of care, then it would work. Public services are for the most part run with no expectation that you get back anything except social benefits -- look at public transport. For an example from the health community, look at the VA's EMR system. That agency's primary focus is providing the lowest cost care possible, and it's a publically funded plan. So an EMR makes sense because it saves the plan time and money.

Note to users: Change your GMail password (2, Insightful)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482120)

Remember that social site that fooled you to get your gmail account and password so you can "invite" all your friends? Remember that someone told you not to do so because is wasn't safe to make your password public but you didn't listen?

Well, now you just got a shinny new Penile Prosthesis Insertion - Non-inflatable AND a Penile Prosthesis Insertion- Inflatable.

Have a nice day.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>