As most of you probably know, I’ve been a big fan of the Google Plus hangout. In fact, I’ve been doing a series of video interviews with leading Healthcare IT thought leaders using the Google Plus hangout technology.
Google recently announced a twist on the Google Plus hangout technology that they’re calling Google Helpouts. These Helpouts are “real help from real people in real time” as it says on the website. Some of the help is Free and in other cases you have to pay a fee to get help. Why am I talking about this on a mobile health website?
The answer is simple. One Medical Group is one of the first partners to work with Google Helpouts. You’ll see on that page that if you’re a One Medical Group member in one of their cities, then you can get Free Medical Advice on the Google Helpout. Pretty cool, except for the fact that I’m not a member or in any of those cities, so I can’t try it out. They do offer Health and Wellness Coaching and Nutrition Counseling for $30 per helpout and $65 per helpout respectively.
My first question after seeing this was, “Are Google Helpouts HIPAA compliant?” The answer is probably that it depends. If I as a patient give permission to do it, then it’s fine. Although, if I’m One Medical Group, I wonder if they were able to get Google to sign a business associates agreement. Considering Google’s track record with Google Health, I’ll be really surprised if they did. Although, they should.
This should be of interest to all those people in the Telehealth world. Obviously, One Medical Group has a unique care model that makes this possible. However, once you start giving patients something like this, it’s hard to take it away. Plus, other patients start getting jealous of their friends and start wanting the service as well.
Hopefully these Google Helpout medical visits will help to crack this open and make the e-Visit a reality.