Dr. Google (This Story is Not What You Think)

Yes, we have all seen the above mug. We’ve all had a chuckle. But what if Google really was trying to be your patient’s doctor? Every medical search performed by a patient is saved and analyzed by them. They use listening devices in unexpected places. These are just the covert methods. But how about blatantly having a deal with a hospital and taking the medical information of patients without their consent? Yup, they got that going too.

The hospital shared electronic health records of patients it treated between 2009 and 2016 with Google, according to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Google and the hospital claimed individuals could not be identified from the medical records, but the records contained times and dates of treatment as well as notes from providers, the lawsuit alleges.

“Google — as one of the most prolific data mining companies — is uniquely able to determine the identity of almost every medical record the University released,” according to the lawsuit.

How is it that hospitals can give or sell information to the likes of Google or the insurers and get away with it? I am sure they have some profit motive but how is this not breaking HIPAA laws? God forbid, though, if a doctor whispers something about a patient too loud. Now that would be a travesty.

We need to be very careful about who is trying to take over the healthcare system. I am not comfortable giving big tech the keys to this shitty kingdom. The keys need to be held by the doctors who could be the ones to fix it if we were just allowed to.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  4 comments for “Dr. Google (This Story is Not What You Think)

  1. Beth KZ
    September 19, 2019 at 1:22 am

    I, and numerous other people, have seen a doctor (someone with an MD or DO degree and license), who, after hearing our complaints or descriptions, excuses themselves, saying “Let me go Google it”. If I wanted the opinion of Dr. Google I’d have gotten it at home! I would not need to be spending over $100 to see an actual physician who is just going to… Google.

    They MAY mean that they are looking it up in some appropriate professional site. I get it that no doctor can know every problem a patient can present. I get it that nobody can know everything – especially unusual conditions or reactions. But, the notion that the physician is going to “Dr. Google” for an opinion is outrageous. I’m a retired IT professional with a retirement job as a librarian. I probably have better skills using Google than are taught in medical school.

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    • Kurt
      September 19, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      Ummmm, Beth. A medical degree allows us to sort out the BS on google. There are some good studies out there
      we docs can filter out and don’t have to pay the bucks for “Up-To-Date”. The other thing is a live doc can treat and
      google can’t

  2. Celia B Entwistle MD
    September 17, 2019 at 10:05 am

    My first comment about EMRs, back in the last century. All the stupid things teenagers do will now be on their record for the rest of their life. Or Someone in an urgent care is diagnosed with asthma by a noctor when the correct diagnosis was RAD with viral syndromes until about 10 and then not again. but this keeps someone from your chosen career. Or you are a hysterical teenage girl and faint once with myoclonic spasms but are diagnosed as “seizure”. the parents don’t get follow up. Good luck joining the military or the fire department. Just as likely to wreck a life as save one with all that concentrated past medical history at the fingertips of some clerk. And correcting it 10 years later is almost impossible.

  3. R Stuart
    September 17, 2019 at 7:40 am

    Don’t act so surprised. This is the WHOLE POINT of EMRs. You didn’t think they were about better patient care, did you?

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