Citing poor adoption by consumers, Google Inc. announced on June 24 that the Google Health online service--which includes a personal health record and related health wellness tools--will be "retired" after Jan. 1, 2012. Consumers will be able to download their Google Health data through Jan. 1, 2013.

"When we launched Google Health, our goal was to create a service that would give people access to their personal health and wellness information," Google said in a statement. "We wanted to translate our successful consumer-centered approach from other domains to healthcare and have a real impact on the day-to-day health experiences of millions of our users.

"Now, with a few years of experience, we've observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would. There has been adoption among certain groups of users like tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts. But we haven't found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people."

Information on the discontinuation of Google Health and an explanation of the variety of ways for consumers to retrieve their data is available here.

In coming weeks, Google also will offer the capability to directly transfer health data to other services that support the Direct Project protocol for health information exchange.

"In the end, while we weren't able to create the impact we wanted with Google Health, we hope it has raised the visibility of the role of the empowered consumer in their own care," the company says.


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