Google Could Revolutionize the Health Care Industry

dna.pngThose that know me know that my last job before I went out on my own as an entrepreneur was with UnitedHealth Group working in their EDI Services division. While I was there I was following the interest Google had in Health Care with great curiosity. UnitedHealth Group (UHG) had many products Google could compete with, and perhaps at a better level. Google for the moment lacks a good, targeted audience in which to tap into the vast advertising money that could be provided by Pharmaceuticals and other Medical industry players. There is huge money in these areas of advertising, and I’m sure Google sees this as an opportunity (see the previous link – Google is definitely thinking about Health advertising!) they haven’t yet tapped into.

Today, Google launched the beta of their new Google Health product. Google Health competes right alongside UnitedHealth’s “Personal Health Histories” that they have provided to their customers. It allows you to easily provide your login credentials to about 20-30 HealthCare and Pharmaceutical providers, and import information from those providers into your Google Health Account. Not only that, but you can manually track health conditions and history of Doctors visits, medicine you are taking, hospital trips, and more, all through a simple login through your Google authentication credentials. All relying on the vast resources of hosting facilities and System Administrators protecting your data which Google has capability to provide.

Starting with Personal Health Histories, Google has the potential to do what UnitedHealth Group and others have been doing, but on a much larger, and unified scale. I would be willing to guess that a large majority of the internet has a Google account of some sort right now – imagine the possibilities!

For instance, what if Google were to integrate Google Calendar support into their interface? You could begin, just by importing your current medications, to receive alerts via text message and Google Calendar, reminding you to take your medication. Or perhaps your Doctor could integrate with Google Health to provide you with reminders and calendar entries of future appointments, as well as remind you when a Physical is due.

We’re just getting started though – now let’s take into account what Google is really good at – search. The project I was in charge of at UnitedHealth Group involved matching records between payers (the insurance companies) and providers (the doctors), an art that, thanks to our great government and the many rules and regulation they have already put into place but don’t follow themselves (called HIPAA), proved quite difficult. Many Insurance companies are making money off of this disunity and flaws in our Government’s system. Imagine if Google were to get into this game and start adding their own indexing algorithms to your medical records. In essence, Google themselves could become a “Clearing House” (a term in the Health Industry for basically a proxy/interpreter between payers and providers), sifting through claims and payments, matching them, and showing your bills, all through Google Health.

Imagine if your Doctor and your Health Insurance provider both join up to Google Health. All of the sudden, the two entities can understand each other and fewer errors will occur. Fraud will become less prevalent, and new standards will be established (if you call “Google” a standard). Ideally, your health care will become cheaper – I can see Doctors giving a discount if you maintain a Google Health Account because they can see more history and communicate with your provider better that way.

Now, imagine this – because Google is not a Insurance provider, they have an unbiased opportunity to show you some very interesting things. For instance, what if they started showing your payment histories to your Insurance provider vs. what the Provider was paying? They could begin to show customers how much more efficient it could be if they just went with a catastrophic insurance plan over their current plan, or how they could save money by just maintaining a Health Savings Account instead of paying a premium every month that goes nowhere. I can really see the potential of the Health Insurance companies getting cut out of the picture with the moves Google is making. Forget Universal HealthCare – Google will universalize it for us!

If Google can get their privacy issues out of the way, what if Google provided an opportunity to add in OpenSocial Support, allowing you, per privacy settings you set, to show the health histories of those you are related to (I can’t think of any reason to show this to just friends, but maybe you can). What if they provided a secure API to this, allowing other vendors, like Family History sites to have access to the data? Soon you’ll be able to track the health of your ancestors, and perhaps even track genetic reasons for the health issues you are having. I really think the possibilities are endless!

I think Google is onto something here – it is obviously another play in their world domination scheme, but with the position they have, why not? Maybe it’s the Libertarian in me, but Google may just revolutionize the Health Care Industry, without a need to turn to government here.

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Jesse Stay has been a pioneer in the space of social media marketing since before it was called "social media marketing". Originally a software developer, Jesse built a tool called which helped brands like Pepsi, Brittany Spears, and MC Hammer grow their social media presence, and before he knew it brands were coming to him for help to grow their presence in very unique ways. His tool was featured on almost every tech blog and even mainstream news sites like New York Times, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Jesse also spent a brief period working FOR Facebook, Inc., helping them to build out their documentation to help companies integrate Facebook Connect into their websites and mobile apps. Jesse took his skills and helped the LDS Church kick off most of its social media programs. While there he helped launch the award-winning "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign with global reach worldwide in the millions of views and followers. Jesse established new global programs at the Church to further grow its reach amongst both members and non-members of the Church, working with every department of the Church, also including entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brigham Young University. He also helped the Church navigate its voice and presence during the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign due to the significant attention the Church was getting at the time. He established the social media advertising techniques and strategies employed at Deseret Digital Media growing over 20 million fans across their news properties in just 6 months, and was featured on AdWeek for his success. As founder and Principal of Stay N Alive, Jesse has developed very unique techniques in social media advertising to help organizations grow presences, within months on minimal budgets, into hundreds of thousands of highly relevant and engaging fans and followers. He designed and teaches social media advertising at LDS Business College. He has helped grow sales, and has a belief that yes, you CAN measure social! Jesse has been featured as one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter (next to Biz Stone and Ev Williams, founders of Twitter) by Entrepreneur magazine. Jesse has written 9 books on the topic of social media marketing and development, including Google+ Marketing For Dummies and Facebook All In One For Dummies, and eats, lives, and drinks social media with a personal combined presence of over 600,000 followers on his personal social profiles.

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