April 9, 2018 – Google announced a partnership with the American Medical Association. This partnership aims to develop a new program that would allow for easier storage and access to medical data. Although not much else has yet been divulged, what we do know is a competition for startups would be set up. In a recent press release, the tech giant announced that the winning entries must “demonstrate how the applicant uses patient-generated health data in meaningful ways to have maximum impact on improving physician workflow, improving clinical outcomes, and reducing cost in the health-care system”.
What is the goal?
Google and the AMA are looking at the difficulties that practitioners face when dealing with patients’ records as well as the onboard costs that come with it. Considering the trouble it takes to keep records in shelves, the intended innovation would allow people to store their medical data on their phones or on any handheld device. The program is envisioned to be able to quickly transmit patient records to various devices common to hospitals, clinics, or home healthcare scenarios.
What are the concerns the app foresees?
This concept raises a lot of red flags however, especially in light of so many massive data leak scandals through the years. This is one of the larger concerns that the undertaking is expressly addressing. Unlike its competitors however, Google has never had a massive data breach that would constitute user mistrust in the company. On top of that, it is known to be one of the most secure provider for cloud storage, the same technology which will be used by said apps to store medical data. Still, there is an assurance that the program would live up to impeccable security standards.
Another consideration which deserves equal importance is that of the interface. A good chunk of users are foreseen to be the elderly and there arises the problem of their inability to cope with technology. As such, there is prime concern for developing an app with better user experience that will cater to both the young and the old. Google notes how large tech companies over the years have fallen out of style because of technicalities in the interface despite being technologically advanced. A compromise between function and ergonomic design is proper. This new app therefore must not sacrifice its features for its ease of access and vice-versa.
The medical health market is currently valued at $3-trillion. In light of this novel idea, several other competitors have also thrown their hat into the ring. Amazon, Alphabet, and Apple have begun campaigns to develop their own apps with a similar concept. It is noteworthy however that it is only with Google that AMA definitively decided to work with. Time will tell if the concept lives to its birth or it may perhaps be a little too ahead of time. It’s safe to assume that the app which does garner the eye of the billion-dollar company will be one that is user-friendly, lightweight, and – most of all – secure.
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