October 18th, 2010
By Kitty Holman
Google Health launched two years ago as a pilot program considering the democratic uses and benefits of remote-access — but secure — electronic health records. Now, anyone can set up a Google Health account to store medical records, receive lab results, chat with doctors, and even track health and wellness goals. It’s a free tool that facilitates much of the paperwork and administrative side of health care, and here are some of the cool things you can get out of it, whether you’re a nurse, medical technician or doctor, or a patient.
Personal Health Information and Records
Learn how to customize your Google Health profile with records from your doctor, your own files and other services and options.
- Create a profile for everyone in the family: You can organize every family member’s health records with their own profile.
- Customize your dashboard: Customize your own dashboard to display medical records, notices, medications, wellness graphs, and goals.
- Advance Directives: Store in Google Health intents and wishes when you can’t speak for yourself, like end-of-life care and designating people to make decisions for you.
- Medicare records: If you live in Utah or Arizona, you can take advantage of a one-year pilot program with Medicare Fee-for-Service to get the last 24 months of your Medicare claims info. sent to Google Health.
- Transfer information: You have the right to approve transactions from clinical records to your Google Health profile, dealing with lab results, allergies, medications and medical history.
- Choose to have messages sent by e-mail or U.S. mail: If you’re worried about privacy or hackers, you can choose to have alerts sent by U.S. mail.
- Add medical contacts: Add doctor, clinic and hospital contact information to store in a safe, access-from-anywhere place.
- Unlink health services: If you change your mind about sharing information with a service, you can always unlink them from your profile.
- Upload your own files: You can also upload your own medical files or personal files from your computer, and can be shared with the people who have access to your profile.
- Remove old medical history: You don’t have to keep your entire life’s medical history on your Google Health record: you can delete the less important stuff for a clutter-free record.
- Share your profile: Share your profile with family members, in-case-of-emergency-people, doctors and anyone else who has an invested interested in your well being (and whom you trust).
- Keep track of health insurance policies: Add or change policies as your coverage changes.
- Track notes: You’ll have space to add notes about all of your medical information, like side effects, questions, or encouragement.
- Give your profile your full name: You don’t have to use your regular Google username for your profile: you can rename it so that it reflects your full name, which is more easily recognized by doctors.
- Add health topics as you go: To further customize your profile, you can add health topics as you go, like test results, procedures, immunizations, health insurance information and more.
- Minimize paper records: While it’s important to have back-up copies of certain files, you can cut down on paperwork — and the number of times you have to pull out and reorganize your hard copies — by relying on Google Health.
- View prescription history: You’ll see an entry each time you renewed a prescription.
- Delete your profile: You can permanently delete a single profile or your entire Google Health account if you decide you don’t want to use it anymore.
Here you’ll learn how to track goals and view your progress as graphs or tables.
- Graph weight-loss goals: Google Health now lets you track your weight-loss goal on graphs.
- Set and track several goals: You can set and track several different goals, from sleeping better to weight loss to eating right to sticking with your meds.
- Organize goals by topic: Called tracker topics, your goals will be separated into different categories alongside similar records, test results, etc. For instance, medical test goals will be stored with Test Results, and if you’re trying to run a half marathon, that will be kept in the Wellness section.
- Journaling: Keep a weight-loss journal, too.
- View goals in Table view: Change tracker displays to a table view for a different perspective.
- See how far you’ve come: Don’t just track your progress: define an endpoint and see how far you’ve come, and what you need to do to get there.
- Change goals: If you need to revise a goal, or set a new one, you can click on the Change link next to the goal.
Featured Partners and Third-Party Services
Here are some of the partners who’ve linked up with Google Health to bring you even more services.
- CVS: Set up your comprehensive pharmacy history via the CVS partnership on Google Health.
- CardioTrainer: Use the popular fitness and running app CardioTrainer to track mileage, speed, elevation, calories burned and time.
- FitBit: Track calories burned, steps taken, and even sleep quality with FitBit.
- RxAmerica: Share prescription history from RxAmerica so that you can choose your own drugs to save money and compare drugs (and side effects).
- Allscripts: Electronic health solutions company Allscripts extends its ePrescribe option to Google Health users.
- iHealth: Powered my Medem, iHealth facilitates secure communication between doctors and Google Health users.
- Medco: Medco users can store prescription information with this partnership.
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: BIDMC patients can link to PatientSite via Google Health.
- NoMoreClipboard: Link up with this service if you want them to send your records to the doctor of your choosing.
- Hello Health: This service makes it easier to chat, send text messages, track in-person visits and e-mail your regular doctor.
- MyDailyApple: Through e-mail or RSS, get health and medical news updates.
- Walgreens: If Walgreens is where you fill your prescriptions, they’ll save your history for you with this service.
- Kmart: Kmart patrons can use this service to collect and refer to medical records, lab results, medication information, and more.
- Cleveland Clinic MyConsult: Get second opinions and nutrition consults from Cleveland Clinic specialists.
- HealthGrades: You’ll get more support for the “Find a Doctor” service with this tool.
- MyMedSchedule.com: Learn more about your medication by viewing pictures, setting up a medication chart, signing up for e-mail reminders to take your meds, and printing your schedule in English or Spanish.
- Anvita Health Partner Profile: With the Anvita app, you can view automatically generated analyses of drug interactions and conditions when you add new data.
- TrialX: TrialX generates clinical trial suggestions based on your personal medical information in Google Health.
- Physicians Wellness Network: Order lab testes online to streamline the process.
- Lifestar: Build customized “views” of your health information to print, share or store on USB devices and more.
- MedNotes by Drugs.com: Learn about medication recalls and get consumer news with this service.
- Quest Diagnostics: Use this partnerhip to import lab tests from your doctor.
Below are some clever uses for Google Health.
- Lose weight: You’ve got all the tools and information available to you to set weight loss goals and track your exercise.
- Do your own drug research: Find out about drug recalls, look up drug ingredients, and learn more about what you’re putting into your body.
- Get your vitals in check: View graphs and set up wellness plans to bring down cholesterol and get your vitals where they should be.
- Have informed discussions with your doctor: Instead of forgetting everything your doctor told you when you leave the office, use Google Health to review your charts, set goals, research drugs, and then have an informed discussion with your doctor when you’re prepared.
- Get a second opinion: It’s easy to allow another doctor access to your charts and history to get a second opinions.
- Share records with college kids, aging parents and traveling family members: Just because a family member is away at college or on an extended business trip doesn’t mean health records have to be faxed or mailed. Keep everyone in the loop with online profiles.
- Identify unhealthy patterns: While it’s a stretch to say you can diagnose yourself, having all your information charted out in front of you may make it easier to spot unhealthy habits and patterns, like poor sleeping habits or steady weight gain.
- Reach out to patients: Instead of sending out impersonal letters, you can discuss lab results and share other health developments in a more personable manner with your patients.
- Print out documents to take with you: Print out lists of immunizations or prescriptions to take with you to doctor’s appointments or to help you fill out forms instead of trying to remember or having to write everything down.
News and Information
Find out what Google is doing to bring news and information to you via Google Health.
- Customized news and content: Depending on your goals or medical conditions, Google will share news stories and informative links on the same subjects.
- Browse all…services: Link to third party health services — after granting them permission to access your state and federal-protected records — to find more information about your conditions and medications.
- Google Health Advisory Council: Read about the doctors and experts who are designing and consulting for Google Health, and watch a video to get tips on using the tool.
- Connect to Google Search: There’s a search box located in Google Health that will display Google results for any questions or searches you have.
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