We continue to learn a tremendous amount since launching Google Health in the spring of 2008. We’re listening to feedback from users every day about their needs, and one issue we hear regularly is that people want help coordinating their care and the care of loved ones. They want the ability to share their medical records and personal health information with trusted family members, friends, and doctors in their care network. I can relate to this.
Just a few years ago, my father suffered a minor heart attack and was sent to the ER. I arrived on the scene in a panic, and was asked what medications he was taking. To my surprise, I had no clue. If my father had a Google Health account, and had shared his profile with me, I would have been up-to-date on his current medications.
I’m happy to announce today Google Health has addressed this issue with the release of a new “Share this profile” feature enabling Google Health users to invite others they trust (whether it’s a family member, a trusted care network provider, friends, and/or a doctor) to view their medical records and personal health information.
Log into Google Health, click on “Share this Profile,” and type in the email address of the person with whom you’d like to share your profile. Google Health will send an email to them with a link to view your profile. The link will only work in connection with the email address of that person — your profile can’t be accessed if the link is forwarded on. You can stop sharing at any time, and you can always see who has access to your information. Those who are viewing your profile can only see the profile you share — not any other one in your account. We’ve also built in some extra protections to make sure your health information stays safe, private, and under your control:
- The sharing link in the email expires after 30 days, but the sharing access itself does not expire — it will stay in place until the user decides to stop sharing
- Viewers can only see — not edit — your Google Health profile
- You can review a user activity report to see who has viewed your profile
For doctors and family members who are not yet online, we’ve also made it easier to share a hard copy of your information via our new printing feature. The wallet format prints a wallet-sized card that includes a user’s medications, and allergies; the PDF format prints a letter-sized copy of a user’s profile, including medications, allergies, conditions, and treatments.
Finally, we’ve launched a new graphing feature that helps patients visualize their medical test information. This is great for, say, someone who has high cholesterol. They can use Google Health to enter their lab results on a monthly basis and see the trend over time.
There is still a lot more work to do on Google Health, and we’re excited to keep hearing from you so we can continue to make improvements. For now, we hope this new sharing feature makes coordinating your care, or the care of loved ones, a little easier.