Google seems to have a way of slipping new stuff in without broadcasting it to anyone. In this case, the latest thing they’ve added is something called Google Health. What it does, quoted from them, is:
* Organize your health information all in one place
* Gather your medical records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies
* Share your information securely with a family member, doctors or caregivers
Once you sign up, you can start creating a medical history profile of yourself, indicating diseases, doctors, treatments, etc. You can also try to hook them up to get your medical records from your hospital or physician, as supposedly they’ve signed with a lot of hospitals to allow that to take place.
If you put all of your medications in, it will warn you if some of them aren’t supposed to be taken together. This one is actually quite valuable, something I know from personal experience with my mother, where different doctors gave her different things without paying attention to what she was already taking; very dangerous situation.
Their purpose is to give you a place online where all your medical information is stored, and where you can easily share it with anyone you wish to, such as another doctor whom you may go to for a consultation, without having to formally request your medical records again.
It’s neat and scary at the same time. You can add it to your current Google profile, if you have one, or obviously create a new one if you don’t already have one. That part is neat; the part about worrying who might steal your password or hack your account and thus get all this other information is the scary part. Then again, with many web services that allow you to save something online to be able to retrieve it somewhere else, you’re already doing that. But with medical records, you’d want to make sure your SSI# wasn’t stored somewhere in there, which is what thieves would be looking for. Anything else, well, they might find something and start sending you pharmaceutical ads, but that’s probably the worst thing I could think of, other than embarrassment of conditions you might not want anyone knowing about.
Anyway, take a look for yourself to see what it’s all about. I’m not going to be going that route just yet, in case you were wondering.