With mobile tech and telecommunications giants ranging from Apple to Verizon getting into the healthcare technology and mHealth fields, it’s understandable why Google has followed suit.
But don’t get the wrong idea. Google does not plan to become a healthcare company. Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page made that clear once again recently.
“Generally, health is just so heavily regulated,” Brin said at Vinod Khosla’s CEO summit. “It’s just a painful business to be in. It’s just not necessarily how I want to spend my time. Even though we do have some health projects, and we’ll be doing that to a certain extent. But I think the regulatory burden in the U.S. is so high that think it would dissuade a lot of entrepreneurs.”
This announcement comes just as the Google Fit health platform was unveiled last month at Google’s I/O developer’s conference in San Francisco.
By pulling data from various sensors on mobile devices, including wearables from Google’s array of smartwatches and related Android mobile products, individuals can get a more comprehensive, integrated view of their health and wellness.
Nonetheless, despite Google’s pronounced interest in mHealth, we don’t see a major shift in business strategy from Google any time soon.
“We have Calico, obviously, we did that with Art Levinson, which is pretty independent effort,” Page admitted. “Focuses on health and longevity. I’m really excited about that. I am really excited about the possibility of data also, to improve health. But that’s– I think what Sergey’s saying, it’s so heavily regulated. It’s a difficult area. I can give you an example. Imagine you had the ability to search people’s medical records in the U.S. Any medical researcher can do it. Maybe they have the names removed. Maybe when the medical researcher searches your data, you get to see which researcher searched it and why. I imagine that would save 10,000 lives in the first year. Just that. That’s almost impossible to do because of HIPAA. I do worry that we regulate ourselves out of some really great possibilities that are certainly on the data-mining end.”