Google Health – A sign of things to come?

by Hans on 2006/05/08

An interesting little post on reports about the possibility of a new service from Google focused on health. This new service is to be called “Google Health” in line with Googles naming convention for services (e.g., Google Maps, Google Scholar, etc).

What I find interesting about this speculative posting is the increasing interest from traditionally non-health care firms taking an interest in health care. In other words, more and more people (and companies) are taking an interest in health related matters. I can’t remember if I’ve posted my prediction here on my blog (I know that I’ve shared this sentiment with my colleagues though), but I believe that health (and thus health care) will become the primary industry in many (if not most) countries replacing manufacturing, military, and even technology. Why? I believe health care will be the driving industry for a number of reasons:

  • Any industry that comprises 10% +/- 5% of a country’s GDP is surely to attract the attention of people.
  • Health and health care affects everyone and not just the sick. Think about it – everyone is potentially sick; even if you are not sick, you still need to be concerned about staying healthy.
  • Health is not limited to national boundaries or regions, but has global consequences – think of coming pandemics like the avian flu.
  • With the continued investment in research, health care has the potential to be a catalyst supporting innovation. In many ways, health care can function like the early American space program – the goal of getting a “man on the moon” helped attract new ideas and resources that was used to spin off new industries.

Back to Google Health… I’m interested to see what Google does with any future “health services”. Google’s specialty is in searching the Internet, and their success has been based on this strength. Will Google make identifying information easier? Possibly. But, even if Google isn’t succesful, I’m sure that others will follow just to keep pace (e.g., Microsoft and Yahoo!). All of this attention will be sure to bring new ideas, new resources, and hopefully better tools for all of us to use. For those already in the health industry, I offer a warning to not sit on your laurels. As Clayton Christensen documents in his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, disruptive innovations often introduce competitors from different industries and at unexpected times. The question we need to ponder is: what can Google Health (and related offerings) become in the future?

I’m interested to see what will follow. Now, if only Google Health can actually treat my health problems . . .

{ 1 comment }

Irrifiedern June 15, 2009 at 3:37 am

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