Monday, September 8, 2008

Google's Chrome Health ethics?

I encourage a look at Brier Dudley's column today with a provocative beginning of

Imagine what it would be like at the library if, instead of using the Dewey Decimal System to find things, everyone had to use a system run by digital ad companies.

Eventually, people would get used to having companies know who reads what, when and where. You'd either trust the companies or find other ways to search for information.

Dudley then delves into some of the same concerns I do regarding Chrome and other Google programs that have a very heavy emphasis on targeted advertisements for their sales revenue.

I see this as a slippery slope for ethics where electronic medical records (EMRs) are concerned, and previously blogged about the language Google Health used regarding their "Interesting companies that offer personalized online health tools" and third-party advertising not clearly indicated in the FAQ. I haven't checked back to see if they have revised this and plan on doing so soon.

Dudley concludes with the same sentiments, bold emphasis mine

Maybe I'm jumping the gun.

I'll bring the subject up again in a couple of years, after Google and Microsoft are storing our medical records and we're using Chrome 3.0 and Internet Explorer 10.

Unless we're all used to it by then.

Edit: My colleague V. Lawrence shared NPR Marketplace's September 5th coverage on Google health with me. Is there truly no co-mingling if someone uses Chrome?

Halamka: It's not on Gmail, it's not on Blogger, it's not on YouTube, it's not on Search. It's a totally separate, isolated, secure area and they have not co-mingled any Google features with Google Health.

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Jere said...

Do you know if Chrome will increase the data mining potential of Google's health records service? Would Google Chrome's "incognito mode" provide some privacy protections while using Google Health?

Eagle Dawg said...

Excellent questions, Jere, and ones that fall in an undefined grey area from what I currently understand about both Chrome and Health. Since medical records in Health have no protected health information (PHI) status, I'm definitely going to check the language in both Health & Chrome again to see if this is addressed.