Open Health Records: When Google Does it, You Know You’re on to Something…

I have long been interested in the concept of open, portable health records for every citizen. It is a concept I was turned on to by Jose Lacal, a SugarCRM partner that is using Sugar’s Community Edition as a base for his OpenPHI initiative. Lacal’s vision is that everyone is entitled to have a full snapshot of their medical history data – it should not be locked up in folders and databases at the various doctors, hospitals and specialists we visit over a lifetime (sound familiar to the SaaS software debate?).

So, Lacal has a very simple mantra:

Open Access+Open Code+Open Data = Better Family Health

Simple yet effective, don’t you think? And Lacal has been making major progress, especially in Latin America where data records can be incomplete without someone (in this case the individual) keeping a central record. Lacal makes a version of Sugar, with full patient history, available on a thumb drive, which patients can carry with them to doctor visits and have updated instantly.

Now, this idea is catching on in a global way. Google has just launched what it is calling Google Health. It is essentially the same concept as OpenPHI – but has Google hosting all of these records for instant access over the web.

This will work for Google and its main target, developed nations with broadband access and households tending to take internet access for granted. But Lacal has sidestepped the need for net connectivity with his USB drive approach.

In all, the result is the same – a more open world, where we as global citizens have unfettered access to important data that previously may have been out of our reach.

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