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Google to add E-health services, Exec says

A Google Inc. executive last week said that the company plans to support the “storage and movement” of electronic health records.

The disclosure at the Web 2.0 Summit here came less than two weeks after Microsoft Corp. unveiled plans to offer e-health services.

Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience at Google, provided scant details about the plan but said that paper-based medical records are no longer practical.

“It doesn’t make sense to generate this volume of information on paper,” Mayer said. “It should be something that is digital. People should have control over their own records.”

The project will be “a huge endeavor,” she acknowledged, noting that “it will take a lot of breakthroughs in digitization, [but] this is something we are committed to.” Google will disclose more information “in the months to come,” she said.

Liz Boehm, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., noted that the issue of security and privacy “remains the elephant in the room whenever Google talks about personal health information storage.”

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