October 10, 2007

The Network is the Doctor

This week on CNE I blog about Microsoft's (and likely Google's) move into storing patient information. It is not surprising, and I think they might pull an iTunes on the electronic health record market - unless the incumbents can get governments to pass sufficiently cumbersome regulations to make new competition impossible.

Patient data control is tremendously important not just from a patient empowerment perspective (owning your own records and having them available enables easier move between providers) but also for the possibility of doing new kinds of epidemiology (what I call "wikiepidemiology, where people pool data for ad hoc surveys) which are likely to be important for developing both enhancements and finding the health issues for the lifeblogger generation. And of course, just imagine Google having not just your search queries and documents but also your health data and maybe your genome - the advertising possibilities are just staggering!

We need to get these regulations right. Too strict, and sharing of medical data will not be possible outside a few expensive centralized systems, and we will miss the chance for good e-medicine and patient empowerment. Too loose (or technologically un-savvy) and we will get spam based on our cancer risk.

Posted by Anders3 at October 10, 2007 10:16 PM