Google and Microsoft Criticize Obama’s e-health record plan

Healthcare is a huge user of data centers and the potential to replace all the paper records with electronic versions would save huge amounts of energy and resources.

Found this post where Google’s Eric Schmidt and Microsoft’s Craig Mundie both on the President’s Council of Advisors and Technology are involved in the e-health record project.

Google, Microsoft executives criticize Obama's e-health records plan

By Bob Brewin 08/06/2009

Newscom Google CEO Eric Schmidt says patients should have access to their records in a national health network.

Top executives at Google and Microsoft sharply questioned the structure of the Obama administration's $20 billion health information technology plan at a meeting of a presidential technology council on Thursday.

Eric Schmidt, chairman and chief executive officer of Google, told top health technology officials at a meeting of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology that the current national health IT system planned by the administration will result in hospitals and doctors using an outdated system of databases in what is becoming an increasingly Web-focused world. The approach will stifle innovation, he said, and ensures medical professionals continue to use existing outmoded medical databases, many of which are copyrighted and cannot be duplicated.

Google and Microsoft are both motivated by their own solutions.

Google and Microsoft have developed Web-based personal health record software products, called Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault.

Eric Schmidt tried to promote the idea of open and user control.

Schmidt told the council that, like the Google and Microsoft applications, the national health IT system should be based on Web records that patients can control.

In addition, current electronic health record systems are proprietary and don't interoperate, said Richard Levin, president of Yale University. "What is out there is not very good," he said. "The reality is dismal."

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Blumenthal said he wanted to encourage innovation in the development of the national health records system, but he sidestepped Schmidt's questions on allowing patients to access and control their own records. He said his office is working on plans that will allow certain kinds of communications with personal health records, but he did not elaborate.

Chopra then said patients will receive summaries of their records.

Schmidt tersely responded, "Giving me a summary ... is not the same thing as giving me the record."

Craig Mundie tried to look at the bigger picture, but was slapped down.

The administration also should focus more on how to manage medical data -- including metadata to locate key pieces of information quickly -- rather than on the specifics of the electronic health records, said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft.

Blumenthal said Mundie's approach would not work because funding in the stimulus law is pegged to the adoption and use of electronic health records, not to management of data by clinicians.

Sounds like a typical bureaucratic limited scope project, not something the Obama Administration would be proud of.

I wonder how long it will be before Google and Microsoft skip the meetings, and work with other international governments who understand the need for openness and user control.