Scott Shreve, formerly of Medsphere, wrote a good post imploring Google to get back into the Personal Health Cloud game, a game where Microsoft HealthVault now appears to be the only game in town. Everything Scott says in his post Chilmark Research agrees with and we would even go so far as to say that Google Health has been nothing more than a distraction to the broader market. A distraction in that Google Health has really done very little to create a truly compelling platform, yet due to its size, market presence and media and market pundits belief that Google is the be all to end all, Google Health gets far more press and attention than it rightfully deserves.
As Scott points out, it is not as if the Google Health team does not have a lot of good people working for them. All who I have met have a passion for what they do. No, the problem is not with them, it sits higher-up in the corner office where senior Google execs have yet to dedicate the resources to truly make the Google Health platform a viable alternative to HealthVault. Yes, Google has made a some announcements, most recently with regards to Advance Directives, over the last several months that demonstrate that the team continues to build functionality into the platform, but none of this functionality is new, none of it novel, none of it that goes beyond what HealthVault had at least a year or more prior. (Note, the Advance Directives feature is pretty significant as it signals a change to the core data model of Google Health allowing it to store unstructured data – something that Google Health did not support previously. This does open numerous opportunities for expansion of services within this platform.)
And don’t even get us started on Google Health’s abysmal efforts in attracting new partners to the platform to create a truly viable ecosystem…
The sad thing is that innovation is driven as much by competition as it is by shear creative inspiration. Without a viable competitor, HealthVault may become complacent and we, the consumer of such services will ultimately pay the price. Please Google, for the sake of all, at least quintuple the size of Google Health’s team so that it is at least a tenth the size of HealthVault’s. Maybe then we will begin to see some sign of a viable competitor, a viable platform and a viable choice for the consumer and Google Health will once again become relevant to the market.