Google is launching a cooperative program between Google and Medicare of Arizona. They are teaming up to put patient & health care records onto Google servers so it can be shared with doctors, labs and pharmacies.

Arizona seniors will be pioneers in a Medicare program that encourages patients to store their medical histories on Google or other commercial Web sites as part of a government effort to streamline and improve health care. The federal agency that oversees Medicare selected Arizona and Utah for a pilot program that invites patients to store their health records on the Internet with Google or one of three other vendors.

From Google & Medicare’s standpoint, this seems like a great way to reduce risk and liability while creating new revenue models. Google will be able to charge for some add-on advertisement services, and possibly data for BI as well. It appears that to use the service, you need to provide some consent, but it is unclear from the wording in the privacy policy if that means by default the data can be used or shared with third parties; time will tell. It does appears that Google does not assume HIPPA obligations because they are not a health care provider. And because of the voluntary nature of the program, it would be hard to get any satisfaction should the data be leaked and damages result. The same may be true for Medicare, because if they are not storing the patient data, there is a grey area of applicability for measures like CA-1386 and HIPPA as well. As Medicare is not outsourcing record storage, unlike other SaaS offerings, they may be able to shrug off the regulatory burden.

Is it just me, or does this kind of look like Facebook for medical records?