Google health panel sparks excitement

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Google's announcement that it's developed a healthcare advisory panel has created quite a stir. In recent weeks, the search giant has been pitching its secure Web information security technology, arguing along the way that secure authentication is key to building Web-based EMRs. The announcement has further fueled speculation Google will develop its own Web-based EMR.

The stellar 21-member panel, which will advise Google on consumer and provider issues and offer product ideas, includes the CEO of Cleveland Clinic, Linda Dillman, a Wal-Mart EVP with benefits responsibility, former FDA commissioner David Kessler, Harvard Medical School CIO John Halamka and American College of Physicians CEO John Tooker.

Panel members are paid a pittance, $1,500 per quarterly meeting, and it doesn't seem they're getting any privileged access to stock or other corporate benefits. So I guess they share many other observers' view that whatever Google develops, it will be important to the industry--and you can't beat a front-row seat on that kind of thing.

To learn more about the group:
- read this Google blog entry
- read this iHealthBeat article