OM blog - The Buzz on Google Health

Submitted by Dean Giustini on June 30, 2007 - 03:19

The blogosphere is rife with debate about Google health's omission of nurses, pharmacists and other health workers (medical librarians) on its Advisory Council. Is this sour grapes?

Rachel Walden - Medical librarian:
"I want to know how a company trying to connect people to health information doesn’t bother to get a few medical librarians on board, given that’s our skillset, profession, and raison d’etre. It’s what we have master’s degrees in. It’s what we do every. single. day. Grrr. Bad Google. If you start a health advisory council and annoy the docs, nurses, and medlibs right away, how good a job have you done?"

Graham Walker - Medical Student:
"Google announces a new “Health Advisory Council” with a lot of big names, but no medical students or likely anyone in the health care industry (by their faces and descriptions at least) under 35 or 40. (Hint, Google: medical students and residents are your power users and early adopters of medical technology, and are most likely to be open to change in the health care system!) Add some youth to your perspective–we’re the ones who’ve grown up with technology!"

Martha Hardy - Library School Student:
"I'm officially joining the chorus of folks who are justifiably baffled that Google has formed their Google Health Advisory Council without including a single medical librarian. Maybe they think they don't need us because they have Dean Ornish?"

Brian Robinson - Government Health IT Journalist:
"If Google really is interested in good advice about the medical field then this Council should be broadened substantially, at least to give it the street cred it needs as well as the auspicious glow the current names provide."

Digital Doorway:
"Google may be very talented at gobbling up major slices of the world without swallowing, but in attempting to create an Advisory Council on healthcare, the good folks at Google seem to have choked on their own hubris. Perhaps the feedback will cause some buyers remorse and compel Google to rethink their strategy. Or perhaps they will steamroll ahead with their Ivory Tower council and continue to spurn those from whom we have the most to learn about healthcare, access to healthcare, and the vicissitudes therein."

"In the hospital setting, nurses are often the person that the patient interacts with the most, and so they are uniquely positioned to be able to gather information on problems that healthcare consumers face."

John Mack
"Undoubtedly, Google gets the vast majority of its health ad revenue from the pharmaceutical industry. Just on the basis of that fact, it needs at least one pharma marketing/advertising expert among its advisors. More than that, Google and other online organizations wishing to present responsible drug ads and other pharmaceutical industry communications to consumers need to include experts in pharma eMarketing, especially those experts who want and know how to do it right."

John M. Grohol:
"Unfortunately for Google, their little council of just 21 members leaves out so many components, professions and wide swaths of understanding “health,” it’s almost being seen as either a joke or a naive first step into this field."

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I certainly don't think it's overwhelmingly sour grapes. I especially believe both the medical librarians and nurses have raised relevant and important points. These groups should have been partners from the outset. I don't care if *I'm* the medical librarian on the council, but there should be at least one on the roster.

PS - Your Captcha hates me. :)

I would just like to say that having a medical librarian on my 'MedWorm Advisory Council' (David Rothman) has been proved to be invaluable. David et al (his librarian colleagues) have provided excellent feedback, ideas, and where appropriate, very constructive criticism, that has directly influenced the future of MedWorm and proved to be the missing link between the IT geek (me), medical professionals and health consumers. (but please Google, hands off David!)