Google is moving forward in the booming health care technology market.
The search giant this week announced several new partnerships designed to expand its free Google Health service.
Google Health is the company's attempt to offer an online medical portal where you can research medical conditions and issues, find doctors and health care professionals, and track down other health-related Web sites. You can also compile and store a health profile by adding test results, names of medications, insurance information, and electronic medical records from your computer or from third-party partners.
One of Google's new partners is Surescripts, a company that lets its subscribers access prescription information through the Web. The new partnership will allow Surescripts members to store and track their prescription history via Google Health, said Google. Surescripts joins other Google Health pharmaceutical partners, such as CVS, Kmart Pharmacy, and Walgreens Pharmacy.
Additionally, Google is teaming up with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), Citizen Memorial Healthcare (CMH), and Iatric Systems. Patients who use these providers will now be able to link their Google Health accounts to retrieve and organize their medical records.
The final Google Health partnership announced this week is with the Withings WiFi Body Scale, a product that records your weight, mass, and BMI (body mass index) and then wirelessly sends that information to a connected device such as a computer or smartphone. People who use the scale will be able to synchronize this information into their Google Health account to keep track of their progress.
Since the launch of Google Health in 2008, the company has been touting the service as a benefit to consumers eager to find medical information and keep tabs on their own health care history. Google has made an effort to partner with an array of providers, including hospitals, pharmacies, and insurance companies, all of which sync with Google Health to offer you one site where you can view your medical information. You can also share your Google Health account with family members and doctors.
But like most services in the cloud, Google Health does raise concerns of security. Though the backend information is secured by Google, data breaches do occur even with the strongest safeguards in place. Access to your account is also retrieved through a simple Gmail password, so your medical information is only as safe as your account password.