Taking Baby Steps, Google & Cleveland Clinic Partner on PHRs

by | Feb 21, 2008

Late yesterday, the Cleveland Clinic announced that they have partnered with Google to do a pilot (beta) of the Google PHR. Cleveland Clinic intends to allow, by invitation, about 1-10% of its existing 100,000+ users of the Epic-based patient portal (a tethered PHR) called MyChart to participate in this trial.

Stated purpose is to test the ability to securely exchange medical records between the two platforms, one clinically-based (the Epic EMR system that Cleveland Clinc uses) and the new Google Health platform, which is consumer/patient focused.

Not all that surprising that Google is partnering with Cleveland and vis versa as the Cleveland Clinic’s CEO sits on the big Health Advisory Committee that Google formed last summer.


Google is taking a very slow and methodical approach to rolling out there PHR. This in stark contrast to Microsoft’s own HealthVault announcement back in early October, a premature announcement as HealthVault was clearly not yet ready for prime-time, or at least not the consumer. We can expect more of the same from Google, a cautious roll-out of the platform.  Look to their Advisory Board for where Google may turn next.

With HIMSS just around the corner and Google’s  CEO giving a keynote, expect more announcements in the coming week(s).

How Google is working with Cleveland Clinic, pulling patient clinical data out of a tethered PHR and populating a patient-controlled PHR, ala Google’s platform, points the way towards a future possibility for the dream of a National Health Information Network (NHIN). To date, NHIN initiatives are dominated by state and federal funding grants to create quasi-public Regional Health Information Organizations RHIOs), which by and large have failed to gain traction. Instead of a NHIN that is based on RHIOs and reliant on government support, we may very well see a NHIN that is built upon the large patient/consumer-centric Personal Health Systems (PHS), that are now entering the market from Microsoft, Google and Dossia.

If you thought the end of 2006 and all of 2007 were pretty exciting times for this market, just stay-tuned as 2008 will see a continued ramp-up in the excito-meter. Question, however, remains, once the dust settles and the last PR is written, will consumers actually use these platforms and thereby give these platforms a reason for being?



  1. McKinsey Interview with Cleveland Clinic CEO « Chilmark Research - [...] Clinic and its operating philosophy.  This provides further color, albeit implied, to the recent partnership between Google Health and…
  2. PHRs are Dead in the Water… « Chilmark Research - [...] to populate a PHR. This is exactly what Google Health is trying to accomplish with its linkages to Cleveland…
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