The recent announcements that 10 Dutch hospitals are to install Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault applications to replace the Dutch government’s Electronic Patient Dossier (EPD) have brought to many people’s attention that Microsoft and Google have been fairly quietly working on their own health care computer systems. For those of us working within the NHS, it’s easy to think the ceiling is Connecting for Health (CfH). Even within the NHS the limitations of vendor specific solutions are becoming apparent and the recent paper ‘A NHS Logical Health Record Architecture: Vision, Objectives and Success Criteria‘ from the CfH Standards Consulting Group suggests alternative approaches are being sought. One such solution could be the openEHR Foundation which as the name suggests is using open standards to create an EHR architecture based on international standards (ISOs).
Back to Google and we should be clear this blog isn’t an advert for Google or Microsoft for that matter. The Google Health approach is very much centred around the patient’s involvement in viewing and editing their medical record. This is one of the reasons given by the Dutch hospitals for choosing these products over the government’s offering. I have spoken to people recently who think it’s absolutely right the patient should be involved from the start in designing their medical record. There are however those that take a different view. Clearly Microsoft and Google wield much power and influence. Should they decide to adopt the openEHR model they will I’m sure be unstoppable.