Google Health is a personal health record (PHR) service that allows users to centrally store and manage their health information online. The application is free but requires a Google account.
Google Health users can enter basic personal information, along with details about any health conditions, medications, allergies, procedures and lab results. Users can opt to share this information with others -- who must also have Google accounts -- and can stop sharing at any time. They can also link to a variety of personal health services, which offer functionality such as personalized comparisons of medications and the direct import of lab test results. Users may further choose to allow those services to access or update their health profiles automatically.
In addition to maintaining a personal health record, users can also link to a variety of health services, such as the Anvita Health Drug Comparison Tool, which offers a personalized comparison of medications based on information in the user's Google Health profile. Some of these services may be enabled to access or update health records automatically. For example, a user can link to Quest Diagnostics and have lab test results imported directly into a Google Health profile.
However, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECT Act), passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), updates HIPAA security provisions to include Google Health and other PHR services, such as Microsoft HealthVault. These provisions mandate that individuals must be notified by the responsible party if the confidentiality of their personal data is compromised.