September 17, 2010

Google Health gets enhanced

Google Health, which was launched nearly two years ago, provides an online central repository for users to store and share their medical data with whomever they want. Needless to say, Google takes great pains to ensure privacy and security.

Google recently revved up the service, adding a number of features primarily based on user feedback. Google Health has added tools that will help users act on all their health and wellness concerns, engage in easier data tracking, increase personalization and set and track progress toward health goals.

Google has developed an easier-to-use dashboard that brings together more of a user's health and wellness information in one place and makes it easier for them to organize and act on that information. Participants can now better track wellness, and wellness goals, including the recording of daily experiences.

For example, users might want to set a goal of walking more each day or to lower cholesterol over time. With their new design, participants can easily monitor their path to success with a visual graph that shows their progress towards their personalized goal. Users can even create custom trackers for other things that they want to monitor like daily sleep, exercise, pregnancy or even how many cups of coffee they drink a day.

Google has also integrated with several new partners to make it easier for participants to collect the data required to track their progress, including Fitbit, maker of a wearable device that captures health and wellness data such as steps taken, calories burned and sleep quality; and CardioTrainer, one of the top mobile apps for tracking fitness activity and weight loss. In the two weeks since CardioTrainer’s integration went live, CardioTrainer developer WorkSmart Labs reported that users have already uploaded more than 150,000 workouts to Google Health, where they can more easily view, track and set goals around their workouts and monitor them along with other health and wellness information.

Besides tracking progress toward health goals, the new design also gives users the ability to take notes or keep a journal on their progress for each health condition or medication they’re taking. The new design also delivers information that is more personalized to a particular set of medical conditions or specific medications. Participants can access improved content links for each medical condition, medication or lab result they have in their Google Health profile.

In addition, the Google Health profile is now easier to read and customize, with the ability to hide past items or sections that are outdated or no longer relevant. All of this helps users keep their dashboard up-to-date with current, relevant information, while still letting them maintain a complete health history.

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