Google Health was a repository tool launched in 2008 and shouldn’t be confused with the 2018 Google project with the same name. It aimed to provide users with a place to collect and store all their health data – medical records, allergies, laboratory results, prescriptions, etc.
Once patients had saved all their health records, Google Health could offer information on different conditions and how specific allergies and drugs could interact with them and with each other.
Google shut down the Health tool on January 1, 2012, and users had an extra year after that to download and save their data. As part of their official statement, Google shared that, even though the service was getting popular with “tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts,” it just wasn’t successful enough. Мultiple factors were contributing to that.
People didn’t have all that many reasons to use the tool. It wasn’t fun to use, nor engaging, and just wasn’t “social enough,” as Adam Bosworth, the original leader of Google Health, noted. Users also weren’t all that eager to have all their medical records stored with Google.
Furthermore, it didn’t offer any resolutions to the problems users encountered when managing their health. It didn’t help patients get reimbursement for health-related expenditures since the US reimbursement system itself rarely allows compensation for anything but face-to-face visits. As John Moore of Chilmark Research pointed, the tool didn’t help patients save money on their insurance bills, refill prescriptions, or get an appointment with a doctor – all the actual issues users care for.
Google Health didn’t involve doctors in the whole system, and they also failed to set a proper way for the insurance companies to share data, which was a big downside.
Last but not least, the whole thing wasn’t profitable for Google. Their preferred method of using embedded advertisements in their services wasn’t something that worked in a health records tool.