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Background of the Google Health Wave

posted Oct 15, 2009, 9:47 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Dec 29, 2009, 2:31 PM ]


AI Doctor:  The development of the Google Health Wave started way before there even was such a thing as Google Wave.  I was attending a medical seminar at Stanford.  One of numerous medical/surgical seminars I attended in 2003.  The instructor was demoing an AI system that was able to process patient symptoms and use a simple decision tree to assign probabilities to the cause of the ailment.  As I was playing with the system, I tried harder and rarer diseases but the AI system did an amazing job producing the correct diagnosis.  The only problem was the doctor had to "enter" all these symptoms into the computer and wait for an answer. I could not imagine a doctor going through all these steps to get a diagnosis that either said he was wrong or said the same answer and was a waste of his time.  I thought we need to integrate the process so he is just entering his data into the Electronic Medical System and the AI system was checking what he did.  It seamed like a good idea, but how?

Enter Google Health:  I have been using Google Health since their launch.  I love the product and have had the good fortune to interact with various members of the Google Health Team (both at Google I/O and through emails).  I am constantly pleased with their quick response and the level of support.   The more I use the product the more I think about products to build with it. [The first idea RxDigita can be viewed in the "Current projects" section.] Google Health is gaining wide adoption and I can see it becoming a standard on which all health record systems interact. 

Enter Google Wave:  The 2009 Google I/O was a life altering event for me:-)  I was provided a free ticket (Because Google Rocks Hard!!) and received a free Google Ion Phone which facilitated the creation of RxDigita [thank you Andrew Bowers !!!!].  The day following Google I/O, a wave hack-a-thon was held.  Lars was there and I was going to tell him about the idea of a Google Health Wave, but I was not sure how all the parts were going to integrate together.   I really wanted to integrate Google Health into Google Wave but I could not see how the nurse and doctors were going to communicate if all the doctors and nurses did not have wave accounts.  So I worked on Gmail integration with Google Wave.  Because at that time Google App Engine (java robot) could not receive email the project was abandoned.  

The Light Went ON:
The following month Google had two days of wave hack-a-thons.  The first was devoted to wave applications and the second to wave federated server.  I remember some guy from Wikipedia showing Dan Peterson (the product manager of Google Wave) that he had embedded a Google Wave into a wiki page.  That was it!  If I embedded the Google Health Wave into a patient information web page, then all the doctors and nurses would have access to that patient's wave. By simply having a monitor next to the patient's bed and displaying the patient's data with an embedded wave, the doctors and nurses could use the wave for their interactions. The plan was to have the health data on the right and the Google Health Wave on the left.  This seamed like the perfect solution to the problem of the AI Doctor.  The nurse and doctor just use the wave to document what they were doing and the AI doctor could check data and suggest actions.

Google Wave for Healthcare  was made with:

0) Google Health
1) Google Wave
2) GWT - the wave was embedded in a GWT split panel, GWT is used on the web pages.
3) Google App Engine - host the application and the Wave robot [java]
4) Google Sites - hosts these web pages
5) Google YouTube - hosts the videos

Future projects will combine Google Wave with Google Health, Google Android and Google App Engine + GWT