Google as ISP – potential ideas for health care innovation?

by Hans on 2010/02/10

Google just announced that it will be developing an experimental fibre network. According to the announcement, these are the plans:

planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people

With this experimental network, Google has the following three learning objectives (for now):

  1. Next generation applications based on ultra-high speed connectivity
  2. New deployment techniques of connectivity
  3. Openness and choice

This seems like a perfect opportunity to test out ehealth innovations in terms of efficacy, feasibility, and usability. It’s interesting that the first example they use (first sentence) mentions a health clinic. Whether there will be many health applications is yet to be seen. However, I am very excited about these types of experiments.
However, as Scot Silverstein is apt to point out, we need to be skeptical of claims and learn from the past success AND failures of IT projects in health care. He has a great website, titled “Contemporary issues in medical informatics: Common examples of healthcare information technology difficulties“, housing resources and commentary on many of these issues. I’ve profiled some of his work in a previous post titled “A voice against irrational exuberance in ehealth“.

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