Google Health: the Facebook of medical records?

John Halamka reports that Google Health has quietly launched an application for secure sharing of your online medical records:

The Google solution, introduced without fanfare, solves many
confidentiality issues by putting the patient in control of medical
record sharing. Call it "Facebook for Healthcare". You invite those who
you believe should see your medical information and you can disinvite
them at anytime.

Halamka, as one of the first 10 participants of the audacious Personal Genome Project, knows more than a little about sharing health data: he's agreed to publish both his medical records and complete genetic data on the PGP's publicly accessible database. He's also a major player in the world of electronic health records (and anyone interested in personalised medicine that isn't reading his blog - you should be).

We really do seem to be moving into an era where patients control their own health data, order their own diagnostic tests (e.g. direct-to-consumer genetic tests), and increasingly make their own decisions about their healthcare. Whether this will actually result in better health outcomes remains to be seen; but there is no question that it will seriously disrupt the traditional medical model.

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This is a nice toy for individuals for data entry, and I like the idea of a perpetual medical intake form online, but "a database with a web site interface and a log in" isn't much of a revolution just because it happens to be about health.

As a note, you can safely ignore opinions about technology that begin like "The Facebook of ____" ---unless, you have a fetish for cheerleaders, I suppose.