Currently, the company employs about 300 people who use Android devices in Northern California, Atlanta, and Chicago.
This is Google’s second attempt to create a way for people to access their medical records. In 2008, Google launched Health, which aims to give people a way to see their health information online, and Google shut it down in 2012.
“We found no way to translate this limited use into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people,” Google wrote in a 2011 blog post.
In the aftermath, experts had a number of different theories: Some believed the reason was that consumers at the time were not actually interested in directly controlling their health records. Others said that Google had not done enough to integrate with the health IT landscape or that the company had not done enough to show people that it could be trusted with regard to their health data.
A decade later, we are in an entirely different digital health landscape. Apple launched the Health Records division in its Health app in 2018, which allows people to pull their records from hospitals and clinics directly onto their iPhones. Health apps have proliferated, wearable devices have adopted health features, and people have become more accustomed to dealing with their health information through smartphones and other devices.
Google is also working on the doctor-facing side of health records; Care Studio provides clinicians a way to search patient records more easily. Other health efforts include a research app that lets Android users participate in medical studies and the Nest Hub feature that tracks sleep.
Bob Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told Stat News that Google is “making progress” with the Consumer Health Record initiative. Advises Google on its health record projects.