You know, folks, here at FierceMarkets we've noticed that every time the word "Google" appears in a headline, people seem much more interested in the story. I'd say that the term "Google" easily outstrips big players like "Cerner," "McKesson," "Red Hat" and even "Microsoft" when it comes to page views on our Web site.
Given this history, I imagine many of you will click through to read this column despite the disclaimer in the title. I guess you're concerned that Google will pull some rabbit out of a hat that will give it the kind of influence over health IT that it enjoys in the search market. And OK, I admit that reading about future threats by a glamorous company can be more entertaining than predictable day-to-day enterprise management stuff.
But as I see it, there's far more important issues to track than the moves of a health IT outsider like Google, including:
The increasing growth of remote disease monitoring: Not only is this significant to clinicians, who seem to be getting good results, it's important for health IT administrators. After all, who's going to be maintaining the servers collecting this information, making sure the wireless devices doctors use to collect data are compatible with the server, integrating the data into other clinical applications, and so on?
Making clinical and administrative systems available to patients in new ways: PHRs, kiosks, portals, mobile applications and more are quietly but decisively emerging as ways to connect patients to the enterprise. We're talking both clinical apps (see above) and administrative functions, allowing, for example, patients to register for an ED visit in the lobby using a kiosk, book a doctor's appointment through a portal or get test results from a home PC.
An increasing consensus that government will have to subsidize for physician IT adoption: Increasingly, government officials at the state, federal and even city level are accepting that they're going to have to subsidize EMRs and e-prescribing systems if they want physicians to play. And while such measures seem to be at a very early stage, bills are increasingly being filed which provide at least some of the means to hand out these subsidies.
In short, worrying that Google is going to take over your world? Low priority. Preparing to roll out a remote disease monitoring app or patient portal? Get right on it. - Anne