MainStreet Explains: Google Health Fact and Fiction

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Internet powerhouse Google (GOOG) launched the Beta test of its newest venture, Google Health on May 20.

The new addition to the Google universe allows users to store and manage all of their health information in one place for free. Just like personal finance sites such as Geezeo.com, (in which MainStreet’s parent company, TheStreet.com, is an investor) which allows people to track all of their finances in one place, Google Health will do the same with medical records. 

Not only does Google Health organize your records in one place, it also keeps them up to date, allows for patients to research treatments, illnesses and second opinions, provides a database to search for doctors and hospitals, and enables your doctors (and other medical professionals) to view these records.  It does not, however, include information about health insurance or providers.
 
Like personal financial information, medical data are highly sensitive for many people and security is important. Google Health's privacy policy allows users to view only their own records and allows users the ability to determine who can, and cannot, access the records. Interested? Check out MainStreet's guide to Google Health fact and fiction and then click on over.

FACT:  You can store as much or as little information in Google Health as you like. The records can include medications, allergies, procedures, immunizations, conditions, and test results.

FICTION: Google will sell, rent, or otherwise distribute any of the personal medical record information stored on their servers.

FACT: Information can be completely deleted at any time and such deletions will take place immediately in the account. 

FICTION: Google Health charges users to gain access to the site and their records.

FACT: You can choose to share your information with others, view a list of who has access to the information, and revoke those sharing privileges at any time.


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