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Why Did Google Health Fail?

Executives from health-care IT companies reflect on what went wrong with Google's 2008 health-care platform.

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Google has seen a plethora of successes over the past 10 years, but there have been some failures as well. Google Health, which was introduced in 2008 and discontinued in 2011, is one example of a platform that just didn’t work.

Intel General Manager Michael Jackson said that, in his opinion, the failure came from the leap of faith that consumers wanted to be the sole owners of all their health records and data.

’I think many of the initial stabs assumed that individuals were interested in taking total ownership of their entire record and being responsible for it,’ Jackson said.

Jackson said that Google Health, and other health-care platforms aimed at consumers, makes the mistake that people aren’t interested in third-party access to health-care records. In reality, he said, people want access to their records, but they don’t want the burden of full responsibility.

Mark Dudman with Boston-based health-care solution provider Navinet said the big issue was around ’tying’ health-care data analytics from these platforms into an entire ecosystem.

’That was the biggest challenge,’ Dudman said. ’You need to tie it into a meaningful workflow.’

Julie Yoo, co-founder of Boston-based enterprise health-care software solution provider Kyruus, said Google Health failed because ’there was actually a product market fit issue there.’

Yoo said the people who really needed access to a platform full of in-depth records -- people with chronic diseases and conditions -- were rarely the demographic of people using mobile apps and Google to get health information.

Yoo also said patients don’t want to be the ’COO’ of their health care, which echoed Jackson’s remarks.

PUBLISHED JULY 13, 2015

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