On Google Health…

I’m baffled that Google is pulling the plug on its Health product. Baffled.

It obviously was not successful. The reasons for that could be many (little interaction, bad partnerships, little consumer interest, etc.), but the biggest failing I believe was this: Google ignored their health product. Basic consumer access to healthcare data was not enough to create an engagement factor worthy of a Google product. I’m not smart enough to be at the Googleplex but given the engineering talent at the G, I could have pulled a team together to come up with a dozen ideas to have made the platform better (it would have taken five minutes, ten tops). Think about what the smart healthcare folks could have done.

I still have faith that personal health records are the solution to the health information exchange problem the industry has. If Google didn’t want to be in that business, that’s fine–it doesn’t seem like anyone else wants to be either. But what Google Health did offer the company was access to personalized healthcare data. The Google value add, in general, is to provide tools that allow you to do something with the data. Google Health didn’t let you do anything with the data.

Three things: Google is about to pull a Michael Jordan here–retire, then come back and win three more rings. There is no way a company that large and influential with a mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” can ignore an industry so desperately in need of a company to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Second, it’s Friday, Friday…healthcare start-ups everywhere are celebrating with a beer or two this evening.

Third, when will facebook join the healthcare party? Now seems like an opportunistic moment.

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