Health Care

Google Health Gone: Web Titan Discontinues Service

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Google Health was announced in 2007 yet never caught on. Now the company is dumping the offering. I can understand why the current product is being discontinued but am surprised to see Google abandon the consumer health focus so explicitly. It’s not as though someone else has run away with the market; and there are massive financial opportunities in the long run for someone who can get it right.

A physician/entrepreneur friend sent the following observation, which I agree with.

I’m not surprised about the announcement since Google Health failed the “what’s the point” test.

The one most exciting thing I’ve seen in consumer health since Google Health began is doctors being available on patient support group listservs.  If Google had set up a service for such patient support groups and somehow induced some doctors to be available they would have gotten a lot more done.  I don’t know if Google could have generated enough revenue to support such a service, but I never understood how they planned to support Google Health either, and the patient support groups at least pass the “what’s the point” test.

Meanwhile, the best overall post mortem I’ve seen about Google Health is by John Moore of Chilmark Research, who’s been skeptical of the initiative for some time. He cites multiple yellow flags and provides some lessons learned.

Yellow flags

  • Quick departure of Google Health Adam Bosworth
  • Initial pilot with Cleveland Clinic had weak uptake
  • Did not support the standard Continuity of Care Record
  • No one really leading the effort over time and not many resources seemed to be committed

Lessons learned:

  • Google never really provided any value to the consumer
  • The doctor needs to be involved to get the patient interested
  • Google’s departure from the field may lead Microsoft to pare back its resources