Its to bad there is a real potential for Google to exploit the subscribers data. However the potential contributions to medical science are tremendous. Do you use the Internet to research a product before you make a purchase? Do you ever read user reviews? How often do you find that there just aren’t enough users or reviews of a particular product for you to be comfortable with a decision. Even more important is researching a medical condition that you or a family member may have.
When people are faced with the decision to have one particular surgery or treatment over another there can never be to much information The more patients opinions you can find the more comfortable you can be about your decision. Imagine a user data base so huge that it provides nearly conclusive results.
Consider a migraine headache, you want to know what other sufferers do to treat the problem. With hundreds of millions of users it would be possible to see unique patterns in the database, for example are more migraine sufferers located in urban areas than rural? What are some of the things in the diets shared by all migraine sufferers thats not in the diets of those who’ve never had a migraine. Can you see the potential yet?
Obtaining accurate clinic trial results is often very difficult because sufficient numbers of participants cant be organized. As a sufferer of low back pain I’ve spent countless hours researching different treatment options. One thing that was recurring when trying to get information was that medical researchers complained that gathering accurate results from clinic trails was extremely difficult. They required long term trails from a large number of patients, this proved to be very difficult. Patients didn’t follow up because they couldn’t travel long distances to the facilities or they simple could not take the time required. Internet user data bases don’t require these same efforts.
Yes you can worry that your medical information maybe sold, but the next time you are worrying about your health, consider the potential of Google Health. When faced with a decision about weather or not to have a doctor hacking into you, what will you do ? Wouldn’t you want to know what the majority of people around the world that share your illness did? What do you have in common with these other people ? What were the results of their treatments? Could cures for diseases actually be found because the huge amount of data could provide the common threads? Sure you can get some information from existing user groups but its like comparing the book shelve in your family room to the Library of Congress.
This article was submitted by Jack as part of a contest we are having on my podcast. His website can be found at nypostoplobotomy.com